(AP) — The Indiana Pacers have hired Kelly Krauskopf as their new assistant general manager, making her the first woman in league history to hold the title.
Krauskopf has a long history with the franchise.
She spent 19 seasons as the top executive of the WNBA's Indiana Fever and helped oversee Indiana's new NBA2K league team. She also served as the WNBA's first director of basketball operations, as an assistant commissioner for the Southwest Conference and on USA Basketball's women's senior national team committee.
"My past experience has shown me that building winning teams and elite level culture is not based on gender — it is based on people and processes," Krauskopf said in a statement released by the team. "I am excited to join the Pacers as we continue building the best NBA franchise in the business."
The midseason move comes at a key moment for the Pacers.
They have won seven straight to tie the Milwaukee Bucks for the Central Division lead heading into Monday's games. They are tied with two-time defending champion Golden State for the fourth-best winning percentage in the league, trailing only Toronto, Milwaukee and Denver.
"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," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. "We think she will be a great asset to myself, general manager Chad Buchanan and senior vice president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie as we pursue our goal of building a winning team for our state and our city."
Women are a becoming a bigger part of the NBA. Kristi Toliver was recently hired as an assistant in Washington and Chasity Melvin is an assistant with Charlotte's G League affiliate in Greensboro, North Carolina. Becky Hammon is now a veteran of the coaching staff in San Antonio, and Natalie Sago and Ashley Moyer-Gleich made their debuts this season as referees.
Krauskopf has a reputation for building winners.
With the Fever, she constructed a team that made the playoffs 13 times, reached the WNBA Finals three times and won the 2012 title — the only professional basketball title won by a team in Indiana since the 1970s. Krauskopf will walk away from the Fever and the NBA2K league team Jan. 1.
"As the architect of one of the WNBA's most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport," team owner Herb Simon said. "I've worked with Kelly over the past two decades, so I know her tremendous basketball mind, strong work ethic and proven leadership skills will continue to be of great benefit to our organization."
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