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Pacers hire Krauskopf as league's first female assistant GM

From NBA media reports

Former WNBA executive Kelly Krauskopf has been hired by the Indiana Pacers as the team’s new assistant general manager. The move, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, was made official by the team on Monday morning.

Per Wojnarowski, Krauskopf will work with the Pacers’ current basketball operations staff, which includes President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, general manager Chad Buchanan and assistant GM Peter Dinwiddie. Here’s more from Wojnarowski:

The Indiana Pacers are hiring longtime WNBA executive Kelly Krauskopf as the first female assistant general manager in NBA history, league sources told ESPN on Monday.

Major League Baseball has had two women assistant GMs, including current New York Yankees executive Jean Afterman and former Los Angeles Dodgers executive Kim Ng. There are several rising female executives in the NBA, but Krauskopf will be the first at the assistant GM level.

Krauskopf spent the last 19 seasons as the Indiana Fever’s top executive and oversaw the Pacers NBA2k league team in the last year. She will relinquish those duties when she starts her new position on January 1, 2019. The Fever and Pacers Gaming will report directly to Pacers Sports & Entertainment President/Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson while the organization evaluates and identifies new leadership.

“First, I would like to thank Herb Simon, Kevin Pritchard and Rick Fuson for this amazing opportunity,” Krauskopf said in a news release Monday. “I have admired the work that Kevin and his staff have put forth so far and I am honored to be a part of an elite and historical franchise. The chance to work in an NBA front office for a first-class organization filled with great people I know and in a city that has become my home is extraordinary.

“My past experience has shown me that building winning teams and elite level culture is not based on gender – it is based on people and processes. I am excited to join the Pacers as we continue building the best NBA franchise in the business.”

Krauskopf had a significant role with USA Basketball’s women’s national team, playing a part in the selection process of three gold-medal winning squads (2004, 2008 and 2012).

Several other teams in the NBA have women in front office basketball roles, including the Orlando Magic (Becky Bonner), Oklahoma City Thunder (Amanda Green), Toronto Raptors (Teresa Resch), Atlanta Hawks (Michelle Leftwich), Houston Rockets (Ariana Andonian) and Brooklyn Nets (Natalie Jay). Additionally, the Denver Nuggets hired WNBA legend Sue Bird to their front office in November as a basketball operations associate.

In the WNBA, Krauskopf was the longest-tenured senior team executive in the league, dating beyond the Fever to her time as the league’s first Director of Basketball Operations in 1996. She joined the Pacers Sports & Entertainment group in 1999, building rosters that led the Pacers to the playoffs 13 times including three WNBA Finals appearances and a WNBA championship in 2012.

A 1983 graduate of Texas A&M University, Krauskopf was a three-year letterwinner in basketball for the Lady Aggies.

“As the architect of one of the WNBA’s most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport,” Simon said in a statement Monday. “I’ve worked with Kelly over the past two decades, so I know her tremendous basketball mind, strong work ethic and proven leadership skills will continue to be of great benefit to our organization.”

“Kelly has played the game, worked in the WNBA league office, helped build and run the Fever franchise from its beginning and eventually built a championship team,” Pritchard said in a statement Monday. “She is very well respected in all basketball circles and she has great knowledge of our entire operation, so when we looked at this position, it made complete sense to just look in our own building. We think she will be a great asset to myself, General Manager Chad Buchanan and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Peter Dinwiddie as we pursue our goal of building a winning team for our state and our city.”


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