Pacers hire Kelly Krauskopf as NBA's first female assistant GM

Pacers hire Krauskopf as NBA's first female assistant GM (1:43)

Rachel Nichols says it is "long overdue" that Kelly Krauskopf was hired by Indiana as the NBA's first female assistant general manager. (1:43)

The Indiana Pacers are hiring longtime WNBA executive Kelly Krauskopf as the first female assistant general manager in NBA history, the team announced Monday.

Krauskopf will work with the Pacers' basketball operations staff, including president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, general manager Chad Buchanan and assistant GM Peter Dinwiddie.

"As the architect of one of the WNBA's most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport," Pacers owner Herb Simon said in a statement. "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."

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 had been president and general manager of the WNBA's Indiana Fever for 17 years until relinquishing only the GM duties in 2017 to oversee the Pacers' new esports entry in the NBA2K League.

"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," Krauskopf said in a statement. "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 also has had a significant role with USA Basketball's women's national team, playing a part in the selection process on three gold-medal-winning Olympic teams.

As she moves into a full-time role in the Pacers' front office, she's relinquishing her WNBA and esports duties.

A growing number of women have landed front-office roles in the NBA, including Becky Bonner (Orlando), Amanda Green (Oklahoma City), Teresa Resch (Toronto), Michelle Leftwich (Atlanta), Ariana Andonian (Houston) and Natalie Jay (Brooklyn).

Krauskopf built a WNBA championship franchise from the Fever's expansion season in 2003. Indiana won the 2013 WNBA title and advanced to three Finals appearances since 2009. Previously, she had been the WNBA's first director of operations, beginning in 1996. She was a college basketball star at Texas A&M in the 1980s.