Kings hire Jenny Boucek to full-time coaching role

The Sacramento Kings have hired former WNBA coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach for player development, the team announced Friday.

The hiring makes Boucek one of two women currently on the full-time staff of an NBA team, along with San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon, who is in her fourth season with the Spurs and was the first woman to have a full-time coaching position in the NBA.

"Over the years, I've crossed paths with [Kings coach Dave Joerger] several times," said Boucek, 43. "I feel like we have a lot in common because we got into coaching in the pros at young ages. We stayed in touch and supported each other. I spent some time observing with their staff here a couple of times, and it evolved into this."

The Kings previously had Nancy Lieberman on their staff when George Karl was the team's coach in 2015-16 and last season, Joerger's first with the team. Lieberman is no longer with the Kings.

"I've grown to know Jenny as a talented basketball coach with a keen mind for the game," Joerger said. "Her ability to teach fundamentals and develop talent will serve as an asset for our core of young players."

The Kings were 32-50 last season. They have two other player development assistants, Larry Lewis and Phil Ricci, as that is a big focus for Sacramento. The Kings' average age is 25.47 to start the 2017-18 season, putting them in the middle of the pack in that regard.

It's a return to Sacramento for Boucek, who was coach of the WNBA's Monarchs for two-plus seasons from 2007 to 2009. She was fired midseason in 2009 with an 40-41 overall record with the team. The Monarchs folded after the 2009 season because of financial setbacks of the Maloof family, which at the time owned the Kings and the Monarchs.

Much of Boucek's WNBA coaching career has been with the Seattle Storm, including as head coach from 2015 to 2017. She was let go Aug. 12 after a record of 36-58. The Storm won two WNBA titles during Boucek's stints as an assistant in Seattle, from 2003 to 2005 and 2010 to 2014.

Boucek played collegiately for Virginia from 1992 to 1996 and played in the inaugural season of the WNBA, 1997, with Cleveland. She got into coaching as an assistant with the WNBA's Washington Mystics in 1999.

She previously did some work in the NBA with advance scouting for the Seattle SuperSonics in 2006.

Boucek credits Ron Rothstein as a mentor. The longtime NBA coach had Boucek as an assistant from 2000 to 2002 when he was coaching the Miami Sol, a short-lived WNBA franchise.

"A lot of my lineage has been with NBA guys who've shared information with me," Boucek said. "When I was let go [from the Storm], several of my friends in the NBA reached out, and this opportunity felt right to spend some time with Dave and his coaching staff this summer. Then I came back for training camp."

Now, as part of the staff, Boucek said she is eager to work with the Kings' young players.

"This is such an exciting opportunity," she said. "I don't feel it's really different between the NBA and WNBA in how you teach things. There are some logistical differences in the NBA, being a bigger organization with a bigger staff. But in terms of the game, coaching is the same. The guys have been super receptive."