Lindsay Gottlieb: Trailblazer and role model with a rare gift for human connection
Spending more than a decade on the West Coast, first as a Cal assistant and then as head coach at UC Santa Barbara, LINDSAY GOTTLIEB - who led Cal to the 2013 Final Four, seven NCAA tournament appearances and a 179-89 record in eight seasons - ascended near the top of the school’s all-time ranks in winning percentage, helping guide Cal to the most wins in a single season while receiving plenty of recognition for her coaching. Despite her love of women’s basketball, where she was the CEO of the program, Gottlieb eventually wanted to escape her comfort zone. As a lifelong follower of the NBA, the opportunity to join the Cleveland Cavaliers was not only too good to pass up, it was a step forward for the future of women in the NBA.
At the time of her hire, the Cavs received glowing praise for thinking outside the box. Gottlieb became the seventh female NBA assistant coach. She was the first NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. The first female coach in Cavaliers history. Steadfast in her belief that organizations should hire the most qualified people, regardless of age, race or gender, her goal one day is for a female hiring in the NBA to be a normal occurrence rather than a massive story. Now with every passing day, as she roams the sidelines and now sits in the front row of the Cavaliers’ bench, Gottlieb has become a picture of hope and belief. She’s helping forge a path for young girls all across the country, showing them that they, too, can fulfill a lifelong dream.
With the Cavs, Gottlieb has a variety of duties. She estimates compiling about 25 percent of the opposing scouting reports and is constantly involved in strategic conversations about offense and defense. Her past head-coaching experience has been invaluable. “The human connection that really matters in sports is genderless,” Gottlieb said. “Whether it’s men or women, good teams and the connection you have on a human level is the beginning to success. I absolutely believe that.” Read more in a profile piece, "Lindsay Gottlieb: Trailblazer, role model and Cleveland Cavaliers ‘badass’ >>
In her talks, Coach Gottlieb draws upon her inspiring journey on the court to discuss a number of topics including resilience, breaking barriers, leadership, creativity, strategy, overcoming obstacles, inspiration, and motivation.
On May 10, 2021, the USC Trojans announced the hire of Lindsay Gottlieb to lead the Lady Trojans Basketball program to restore the glory that once defined the program. Gottlieb’s basketball acumen, passion, and authenticity are widely recognized across the sports world and have not only greatly contributed to her success, but to her reputation as a trailblazer in the industry.
Gottlieb, who is no stranger to being a top coach in the Pac-12 conference, previously coached the Cal Bears women’s team to 7 NCAA tournaments, including a Final Four appearance in 2014. Her accomplishments and dominance in college basketball ultimately led her to become the first NCAA women’s head coach to join an NBA staff in 2019 when she was hired as an Assistant Coach by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019. With this landmark hire, Gottlieb has continued to push boundaries and redefine what is possible for women in sports.