Stephanie Ready Is First Woman to Coach a Professional Men's Team

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NBC Today Show
Matt Lauer
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NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Stephanie Ready is the first African American woman to coach men in a professional sport. She'll be the assistant basketball coach for the Greenville Groove, an NBA team.



"Stephanie Ready Is First Woman to Coach a Professional Men's Team." Matt Lauer, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 16 Aug. 2001. NBC Learn. Web. 17 January 2015.


Lauer, M. (Reporter). (2001, August 16). Stephanie Ready Is First Woman to Coach a Professional Men's Team. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from


"Stephanie Ready Is First Woman to Coach a Professional Men's Team" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 08/16/2001. Accessed Sat Jan 17 2015 from NBC Learn:


Stephanie Ready Is First Woman to Coach a Professional Men's Team

MATT LAUER, co-host:

Despite the popularity of women's professional leagues in sports like basketball and soccer, coaching professional men has remained off limits to women.  That is until today.  Later this morning, Stephanie Ready will be named assistant coach for the Greenville Groove basketball team, making her the first woman ever named to coach men in a professional sport.

Stephanie, good morning.  Congratulations.

Ms. STEPHANIE READY (First Woman to Coach a Men's Professional Sports

Team): Good morning.  Thank you very much.

LAUER:  Tell me about this league, the National Basketball Development

League. What's it about?

Ms. READY:  Right.  It's about developing talents, it's about developing on-court tal--talent, as well as off court talent, so the players can look to go up to the NBA directly from our league, as well as front-office personnel.

LAUER:  But in every way, it is a professional basketball league.

Ms. READY:  Definitely, yes.  It's the NBA's minor league.

LAUER:  And are you going to be a head coach or an assistant coach?

Ms. READY:  Assistant coach.

LAUER:  But you will have absolute coaching responsibilities, and that's what makes you the first woman ever to oversee men in a professional sport.

Ms. READY:  Sure.  That's correct.

LAUER:  Let me talk about your credentials a little bit.  You played four years of women's college basketball, Coppin State.

Ms. READY:  That's right.

LAUER:  Then you were an assistant coach at Coppin State.

Ms. READY:  Correct.

LAUER:  And be--that's before moving up here.  Did you have a burning desire to become some kind of pioneer in the sports world?

Ms. READY:  Not necessarily.  I just was lucky enough to have opportunities put before me, and I was prepared.  Coach Mitchell at Coppin State College had the--the foresight to see that I might help him out with his program, and I was very happy to oblige.

LAUER:  So you didn't want to break down barriers, but as it turns out

you have.  What does it mean to you?

Ms. READY:  Right.  I think it's absolutely wonderful.  I'm very excited about being a part of the NBA family, and if I can help any little girls or little boys think that maybe they can do anything that they dream about, then I'm happy.

LAUER:  As an assistant coach at Coppin State, how were you treated by the players and by other people in the college ranks?

Ms. READY:  It was absolutely perfect, as far as in the Coppin State family. The guys were really good; they were very receptive.  There was a little transition period before the actual official practice season started.  Outside of the Coppin State family, there were a few instances of...

LAUER:  Yeah, tell me, there was another coach one time...

Ms. READY:  Right, that's correct.

LAUER:  ...who refused to shake your hand.

Ms. READY:  Right.  It's unfortunate, but there are some people out there who don't think I should be in my position.  And we happened to beat that team, and I won't mention any names, but he--he didn't want to shake my hand afterwards.

LAUER:  Let me play skeptic for a second.  This is a brand-new league; they need attention; they need publicity.  What about the skeptic in me who says, you know what?  It's nice they named the first woman professional coach in a men's league, because they want attention.

Ms. READY:  I don't agree with that, only because I know how the world of basketball works.  And the NBA is not going to put someone in a position, especially in a new league, that they think won't be successful.

LAUER:  Do you think women and men approach coaching differently?

Ms. READY:  I couldn't say that they definitely do, only because my only experience is coaching men.  I think that coaching skills are definitely nongender specific, so I think they're the same.

LAUER:  You more of a Phil Jackson or a Bobby Knight?

Ms. READY:  I have to say Phil Jackson.

LAUER:  A little more laid back.

Ms. READY:  A little.

LAUER:  When's the first game for the Groove?

Ms. READY:  November 16th, we're home at the BI-LO Center.

LAUER:  And if this goes well for you, you're dr--now, you say you didn't want to become a trendsetter or a barrier breaker, but when you look to the future, do you look to becoming a coach in the WNBA or the NBA?

Ms. READY:  Either of those two opportunities are tremendous for any coach, and they're both premier programs.  They're both premier organizations, the NBA on the men's side, the WNBA on the women's side.

They're the best in the world, right now, in basketball.

LAUER:  Well, we wish you the best of luck.  Congratulations.  You're a terrific spokesperson for the NBDA.

Ms. READY:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  I brought you guys gifts.

LAUER:  Great.  Well, then you're--then you're our favorite guest.  We love that.

Ms. READY:  Hats--hats and T-shirts.

LAUER:  Stephanie, come back.

Ms. READY:  All right.  Thank you for having me.

LAUER:  We appreciate it.  Good luck to you.

Ms. READY:  Thanks.

LAUER:  Thanks so much.

Ms. READY:  You're welcome.