The San Antonio Spurs announced last August the hiring of NBA’s first female assistant head coach.
The credentials were to the expected level of excellence that every team looks for. Named one of the Top 15 Players of All Time in 2011 and part of the Russian Olympic team in 2008, the coach, Becky Hammon, is accomplished both on and off the court.
Hammon’s instatement is an important step in women’s history. It is on par with Title IX, which was passed in 1972 to open more doors of opportunity for women in fields of education, including athletics.
Former Head Basketball Coach at the University of North Texas and Director of Athletics and Physical Education Tina Slinker believes that Hammon’s arrival into this new position is monumental.
“I always felt like she was a winner: a go-to-person who always seemed to rise above,” Slinker said. “And the beginning of Title XI in 1972 shows how long it continues to take women to have these breaking opportunities. Hammon just crossed another plateau-it’s a powerful thing.”
Although Title XI was created years ago, it didn’t start making a significant difference until recently. Slinker believes that women like Hammon give other women hope that they can achieve whatever they strive to accomplish. She views Hammon as a role model for Hockaday girls.
“As a college player and Olympian, she went through her fair share of disappointments. [But] she believed that if you keep working, you can achieve whatever you want to,” Slinker said.
Although Hammon was hindered by many obstacles throughout her career such as dealing with a severe, season-ending injury in 2013 and issues regarding sexism, she managed to pull through and become the esteemed coach she is today.
“It takes hard work and determination and someone who has continued to fight for those rights. Becky Hammon has opened another door for all women. The doors are finally opening; it’s still an uphill climb for us [women],” Slinker said.
– Heidi Kim