On Monday, the Indiana Pacers announced that, starting Jan. 1, Kelly Krauskopf will be their new assistant general manager, working in conjunction with President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. Krauskopf will become the NBA's first ever woman assistant GM, thanks in large part to her impressive pedigree.
For the last 19 seasons, she's been the top executive of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, and oversaw the Pacers' NBA 2K team for the last year. Under her guidance, the Fever won the WNBA Title in 2013 and advanced to the Finals four times since 2009. "As the architect of one of the WNBA's most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport," Pacers owner Herb Simon said in a statement.
"Kelly has played the game, worked in the WNBA league office, helped build and run the Fever franchise from its beginning and eventually built a championship team," Pritchard added. "She is very well respected in all basketball circles and she has great knowledge of our entire operation, so when we looked at this position, it made complete sense to just look in our own building."
While there are female executives in other pro sports, like current Yankees assistant Jean Afterman, and former Dodgers executive Kim Ng, a woman had not yet climbed this rung in an NBA franchise. However, there have been multiple women in NBA front office roles, including Natalie Jay of the Brooklyn Nets, Becky Bonner in Orlando and Amanda Green of the Thunder, just to name a few.
"I have admired the work that Kevin and his staff have put forth so far and I am honored to be a part of an elite and historical franchise," Krauskopf said in a statement. "The chance to work in an NBA front office for a first-class organization filled with great people I know and in a city that has become my home is extraordinary."
In 1996, Krauskopf became the WNBA's first director of operations, and says her resume has revealed "that building winning teams and elite level culture is not based on gender -- it is based on people and processes.
"I am excited to join the Pacers as we continue building the best NBA franchise in the business."