Spurs hire league's first full-time female assistant coach

SAN ANTONIO Tue Aug 5, 2014 5:56pm EDT

Russia's Becky Hammon smiles toward her bench during the women's preliminary round Group B basketball match against Brazil at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games in this file photo taken July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

Russia's Becky Hammon smiles toward her bench during the women's preliminary round Group B basketball match against Brazil at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games in this file photo taken July 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

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SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The reigning National Basketball Association champion San Antonio Spurs named long-time WNBA star Becky Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history on Tuesday.

Hammon, 37, is a six-time WNBA All-Star who has spent the last eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars, from which she will soon retire.

"In some ways it is trailblazing, but there have been so many other women that are doing really, really great things and I am just kind of following in their path," Hammon said.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement: "I'm confident that her basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit for the Spurs."

There have been women head coaches in the NBA Development and summer leagues, and Lisa Boyer was a part-time member of the Cleveland Cavaliers' coaching staff during the 2001-02 NBA season, according to the Spurs.

Named one of the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time in July of 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (with 5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445), the Spurs said.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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