Spurs’ Becky Hammon Becomes First Woman to Serve as Head Coach After Gregg Popovich Ejection

by Matthew Wilson

Becky Hammon has made history. She became the first woman to serve as head coach in the NBA after a technical foul sent Gregg Popovich packing.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal,” Hammon told ESPN. “It’s a substantial moment. I’ve been a part of this organization. I got traded here in 2007. So I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested. And they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better.”

Currently, Hammon has worked with the Spurs for seven years and is one of the team’s assistant coaches. Prior to her coaching position, she was a force to be reckoned with in the WNBA. She played for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars during her career.

Becky Hammon Takes Over

The historic moment occurred last night (Dec. 30) when the San Antonio Spurs played the Los Angeles Lakers. Popovich found himself in coach’s jail after arguing with a referee toward the end of the second quarter. The coach got heated because the referee didn’t call a foul on the Lakers. His team was also trailing the Lakers 52-41 at the time.

“He officially pointed at me. That was it. … That was it,” Hammon said. “Said, ‘You got ’em,’ and that was it. Very Pop-like.”

Hammon found herself leading the team with assistant coaches Will Hardy and Mitch Johnson backing her up.

“Everybody just gets on board, and it was a great team effort and they’re in my ear giving me suggestions and helping with substitutions and whatnot,” Hammon said. “So when Pop gets tossed, we all come together and become kind of another team.”

While ultimately Hammon was unable to lead a comeback for the team, the significance of the night isn’t lost on her. She’s received support from players on the team as well as members of the Lakers, including LeBron James.