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SETTING THE PACE

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INDIANA'S NEW ASSISTANT GM IS PAVING THE WAY FOR FEMALE SPORTS EXECS

KELLY KRAUSKOPF knows basketball, from the court to the C-suite. Growing up in South Texas, she played at Texas A&M before being tapped to be the first director of basketball operations for the WNBA in 1996. For 17 years she was the president and general manager of the Indiana Fever, but on Dec. 17 she took a new—if not entirely unfamiliar—job: assistant general manager of the Pacers.

Krauskopf is the first woman to hold that position in the NBA. It's a groundbreaking achievement, but as Krauskopf says, "Nobody wants to [hire someone] just because [they]'re a girl.... This is not just checking a box. This is really important in terms of what I want to be able to do to help the team, the franchise."

Still, she understands the importance of being hired for such a high-profile position. She knows what she'll mean to young girls—how she can expand their dreams by simply existing in this job. Her role model growing up was Calvin Murphy; there was no WNBA, let alone women in prominent sports managerial positions.

Now that's changing. Women can be found in front offices in the NHL and MLB; they're wearing headsets on NFL sidelines and scribbling on whiteboards courtside.

"It's hard for me to say how far off the first female GM is," she said. "I just think in due time. Think about this: The NBA is 72 years old. The WNBA is 22 years old. You need generations to be involved in the sport and management and coaching and training at all the levels. That really hasn't occurred yet. I'm a first-generation pro women's basketball executive. So now I'm taking all of my knowledge and experience, and it cuts across both genders. It doesn't matter."

Krauskopf sees similarities between the Fever and the Pacers—both, she believes, haven't been given the attention or respect they deserve. "[With the Fever], we always knew what we had," she says. "And I feel that way about the Pacers. They're very self-aware of where they are and how good they are, and they don't care if other people don't know. And I love that. I have an older brother, I'm a little sister. So I'm like, Bring it on."

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

A YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE IN TEXAS REQUIRES PLAYERS AS YOUNG AS FOUR TO SIGN LETTERS OF INTENT TO THEIR TEAMS AND HOLDS SIGNING CEREMONIES

THEY SAID IT

"UNTIL I KNOW WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR, I CAN'T FIND IT."

CHUCK FLETCHER, the Flyers GM, who fired coach Dave Hakstol on Dec. 17, on the search for a replacement.