Spurs hire female assistant coach

Hammon retiring from WNBA after this season

By The Sports Xchange; News4Jax.com Staff

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added longtime WNBA player Becky Hammon to his staff on Tuesday as an assistant coach.

No contract details were available. Hammon is finishing her 16th WNBA season overall and her eighth with the San Antonio Silver Stars. She announced last month that she is retiring as a player at the end of the 2014 season.

"I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. "Having observed her working with our team this past season, I'm confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs."

Also impressed with Hammon was Channel 4's Kent Justice, who covered Hammon when she was playing for her high school team.

"I remember hanging out with her and shooting baskets in the gym for this profile story," Justice said. "Really impressive because at that young age, she was pretty focused. And she had an older brother. She used to play basketball with him and she hated to lose."

Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star who missed the previous season because of a knee injury, ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445). She holds Stars franchise records for assists (1,112) and three-point field goals made (493) and is second in points (3,442) and games (218).

After becoming a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008, Hammon played on the Russian basketball team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.

Hammon is not the first woman assistant coach in the NBA. Lisa Boyer, now the associate head women's basketball coach at South Carolina, was a volunteer assistant on coach John Lucas' staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001-02.

Earlier this summer, the Spurs hired highly regarded international coach Ettore Messina as an assistant.

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