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Pelicans add AJ Diggs, Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon to coaching staff

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Teresa Weatherspoon and AJ Diggs as assistant coaches with a focus on player development.

The club says the two new assistants have been assigned to work closely with the Pelicans’ two-way players and will travel with them to and from their assignments with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

Weatherspoon, who this year was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, has spent the previous four seasons as the Director of Player and Franchise Development with the WNBA’s New York Liberty. Before that, she coached at Louisiana Tech, where, as a player, she won a national championship in 1988. Weatherspoon also played professionally in Europe and in the WNBA.

Diggs has had several coaching positions in the G League, most recently with Raptors 905. He also has coached with the Maine Red Claws and Austin Spurs.

With the hiring of Weatherspoon, the Pelicans now have women holding positions of ownership, management and assistant coach.

Gayle Benson, the widow of late owner Tom Benson, owns the club. Earlier this year, David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, added former WNBA player and executive Swin Cash to his staff as vice president of basketball operations and player development.

The hiring also continues a trend across major professional sports that has gained momentum since the hiring of Becky Hammon as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Weatherspoon brings to 11 the number of female assistant coaches in the NBA, most of them hired since 2017. Also this week, Seattle’s expansion NHL team hired Cammi Granato as a scout.