Lindsay Gottlieb had not spent the spring chasing down a dream job in the NBA.
In fact, Gottlieb says she never has even entertained offers to consider coaching elsewhere in college basketball.
But Gottlieb, 41, after eight successful seasons as the women’s head basketball coach at Cal, is today an assistant coach in the NBA.
She was hired Wednesday by the Cleveland Cavaliers to join new coach John Beilein’s first staff. The process took barely a month, since Gottlieb met in Chicago in the middle of May with Cavs’ general manager Koby Altman.
She expecting a meeting where the two would exchange ideas, especially on the subject of where the NBA is headed with opportunities for women.
What Altman, 36, said to her left Gottlieb floored.
Gottlieb, who reportedly will get a four-year contract, is expected to play a prominent role under Beilein -- the former Michigan coach -- and his associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, a two-time former NBA head coach.
She begins her new job Monday but said Cal will always be a special place to her. Telling her players goodbye was tough, but also easy because Gottlieb hopes the opportunity she has will help open future doors for all of them and other young women.
It’s an historic hire: Gottlieb becomes the first college women’s head coach to join an NBA coaching staff.
She joins a small club of women coaching in the NBA, including current assistants Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs), Lindsey Harding (Philadelphia 76ers), Karen Stack-Umlauf (Chicago Bulls), Kristi Toliver (Washington Wizards), Jenny Boucek (Dallas Mavericks) and Natalie Nakase (Los Angeles Clippers).
Gottlieb compiled a record of 159-76 as head coach at Cal, directing the Bears to the NCAA tournament seven times in her eight seasons, including a trip to the Final Four in 2013, a program first.
Assistant coach Kai Felton will serve as the program’s interim head coach, Cal announced, and athletic director Jim Knowlton said a national search for a permanent replacement would begin immediately.