NBA Inches Closer to First Female Head Coach as Sonia Raman Joins Grizzlies Staff

She's the 14th woman to be a coach in NBA history

Becky Hammon has been an integral part of the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff
Assistant coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs looks on in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers
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The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that they’ve filled out the remainder of their coaching staff with the hiring of Sonia Raman. The head coach of the women’s basketball team at MIT for 12 years, Raman is the team’s all-time winningest coach, with 152 wins.

In her last five years at MIT, Raman was 91-45. Overall, she finished with a 152-155 record. She was also a two-time coach of the year in the NEWMAC.

Raman took the Engineers to their first Division III NCAA Tournament appearances in 2018 and 2019. She is the second female assistant coach in Grizzlies history, after Niele Ivey, and the 14th in NBA history. Raman replaces Ivey, who departed Memphis for a head-coaching position at Notre Dame after one season.

The second woman to be hired as a coach in league history is Becky Hammon. A former WNBA player, Hammon was a six-time All-Star and is considered one of the best women’s players of all time. Since Hammon’s hiring by the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, 12 women have been hired in coaching roles across the NBA.

A trailblazer in the sport, Hammon’s first achievement in coaching was leading the Spurs’ Summer League team to the Summer League title in 2015. She was the first woman to interview for a head-coaching position in 2018, and is now one of several candidates interviewing for the Indiana Pacers’ recent head-coach opening.

It’s safe to say that it’s a matter of time before Hammon will shatter the glass ceiling and become a head coach in the NBA. That could lead to more women — like Raman — receiving the opportunity to vie for head-coaching positions across the league.

Raman joins Taylor Jenkins’s staff in Memphis and will start on November 1. The Grizzlies exceeded all expectations this season, holding onto the eighth seed for much of the year before falling to the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference play-in game in Orlando.

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