Who the heck is Brittni Donaldson? She’s the coolest chick in Canada, that’s who. The announcement was made yesterday that Donaldson has been named the Raptor’s newest assistant coach. And she’s only 26!
First, let’s take a minute to appreciate how awesome it is that the NBA is progressing: there are now 10 females in assistant coach positions within the league. Ten! Becky Hammon was the first female to hold a full-time assistant coaching job (with the San Antonio Spurs), and she was a WNBA star before that. There’s no denying that she was/is qualified for the job! Some haters out there claim that having females on the coaching staff is a move made purely for publicity purposes. That’s ridiculous. I love this quote from Pau Gasol’s article about Coach Hammon: “Would you really expect Coach Pop to develop his staff any differently than he develops his players? Of course not.” Well said, Gasol.
As pointed out in this article from ESPN, the Raps have been doing a particularly great job of promoting women. Teresa Resch, Jennifer Quinn, and Shelby Weaver are each an integral part of the Raptors organization and management. And the NBA, in general, has hired a whopping five female assistant coaches this summer alone: Lindsay Harding, Lindsay Gottlieb, Kara Lawson, and Niele Ivey will be coaching the Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively. That’s an impressive roster of female badasses to help lead those testosterone-fuelled ball bouncers to glory.
There’s no doubt that ANY of the NBA’s female assistant coaches are qualified for their positions, but it’s super cool that Donaldson came to coaching through a stats and analytics background. Not that she doesn’t have playing experience – she played competitive basketball in high school and at the University of Northern Iowa. When she was originally hired by the Raps she was in the front office, analyzing data and producing reports for coaches and other staff members. She was the stats guru, and now she’s a coach. How crazy is that?
The thing that impresses me the most about Donaldson is that she came from a stats background. This fact is right up there on the coolness scale, alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having an English degree and teaching background. Nobody, especially not women, should feel confined by their path of study. Anything is possible.
My boyfriend is a numbers person. He teaches math to junior high students right now, has done math and science tutoring for several years, and at one point considered switching directions and took an intro actuarial exam. He’s also an insane Raptors fan. Utterly insane. After reading about Donaldson’s road to coaching, I think he’s kicking himself for not pursuing an actuarial career.
As a woman and a Raptors fan, I am eagerly anticipating the 2019-20 season and seeing how Brittni Donaldson can help the team. Go Raps! Go Girl Power!
Image Source: Toronto Raptors