Former Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball star Kara Lawson is heading to the NBA as an assistant head coach for the Boston Celtics.
After a 13-year pro career, two gold medals and years of experience broadcasting, Kara Lawson is taking another huge step. The former Tennessee Lady Vols guard is now heading to then NBA to be an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Lawson, who played for UT from 1999 to 2003, joins Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs, Jenny Boucek of the Dallas Mavericks and Lindsay Gottlieb of the Cleveland Cavaliers as women coaches sitting on NBA benches. Hammon was the first of all of them to do it.
Despite no coaching experience, Lawson’s playing experience and her broadcasting demonstrate a deep understanding of the game, making this a very good hire. Remember, she was an outside candidate for the Tennessee Lady Vols head coaching job when it opened up earlier this year.
One big positive about her opportunity is that she’ll be studying under Brad Stevens. Given Stevens’s track record of taking the Butler Bulldogs to back to back national championship appearances in college, he clearly has an understanding of adapting to the game of basketball based on the league he’s in at the time.
Another huge deal, though, is the fact that she will be an assistant for the team that took former men’s basketball star Grant Williams in last week’s NBA Draft. Williams welcomed Lawson to the franchise on Twitter.
With a UT grad on the staff and Williams going in the first round, it seems to show the Celtics are heavily invested in him. For another connection, Celtics GM Danny Ainge is the nephew of former UT quarterback Erik Ainge. Ainge noted all of this on Twitter as well.
Because of her history with women’s basketball, that will be a valuable asset for Lawson. She’s already made headway with her experience as an NBA broadcaster, something she has been doing since 2006.
Don’t count her out being the first female head coach in the NBA either. After all, Lawson was the first woman to call a nationally televised NBA game way back in 2007. So if she has success in Boston, there’s a great chance she gets a call somewhere given her connections with the pros.
The Tennessee Lady Vols have a history of groundbreaking achievements in women’s athletics, and Kara Lawson is adding to that history. She has been a great ambassador for the university for years, and this is just another great step for her.