Weighing the Coaching Options for Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon
Dejected Russian guard Becky Hammon leaves the court after losing 81-64 to France during the London 2012 Olympic Games women's semifinal basketball game bewteen Russia and France at the North Greenwich Arena in London on August 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO /MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)

It seems like a sure-fire slam dunk. Becky Hammon, who has been an assistant coach for the last four seasons under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, may get the opportunity of a lifetime to coach the men’s basketball team at her alma mater, Colorado State. Over the past several days she has been linked to the job, previously held by Larry Eustachy prior to his resignation amid player mistreatment allegations.

Weighing the Coaching Options for Becky Hammon

But on the other end of the spectrum, Hammon could be taking a huge risk by leaving the NBA to join the controversy-marred NCAA. Despite having the experience and the support of the school she holds records for, one can’t help but wonder if leaving the Spurs would be the right career decision at this point.

Why Becky Hammon Should Stay in the NBA

Becky Hammon already has a proven track record of success. Having led the Spurs Summer League team to a championship during the 2015 offseason. In fact, she is so well respected in NBA circles that some believe it’s only a matter of time before she begins interviewing for head coaching vacancies.

Hammon is a protege of an all-time great head coach in NBA history; a position that has previously launched the coaching careers of Mike Brown, Brett Brown, and Doc Rivers, among others. But, she may not even need to branch out at all given that Popovich just celebrated his 69th birthday. Perhaps if she waits it out she could find herself at the helm of one of the greatest professional sports organizations in existence. But that may just be a pipedream, given that Pop is showing no signs of fatigue.

Regardless, staying in the NBA would save her the headache of having to deal with recruiting, booster support, and NCAA rules and regulations, among other negatives. It is a far more progressive league than that of the NCAA and one that would certainly embrace such a historic promotion/hiring. Not to mention she’d do much better financially speaking.

Why Becky Hammon Should Leave for CSU

Opportunities like this one do not come around often. While no offer is on the table as of yet, it is certainly an enticing scenario. It’s the opportunity to be a trailblazer. If hired, Hammon will be the first female Division I men’s basketball coach ever. Now that’s a pretty hard thing to say no too.

Hammon potentially has the support of CSU Athletic Director Joe Parker. When asked about Hammon and the potential of hiring a female head coach who stated, Parker explained that he’s “not closing the door on any thought.” The Denver Post even recently reported that CSU will be bringing in the Hall of Fame alumni for a round of interviews.

Another major positive would be the expectations on Hammon. The team is coming off a rough 11-21 season, so it’s fair to assume that she would be given at least a few years to turn things around. And assuming that the press and alumni would likely thrust their support her way, she’d appear to have relatively good job security from the start. That’s much more than one can say about the cutthroat nature of professional sports.

The Verdict

Although it will take some patience, it’s in Hammon’s best interest to stay in the NBA and wait for her moment. She already knows the workings of the league and would stand to make far more money coaching in the NBA as opposed to the Mountain West. Now don’t get me wrong, while being the first female head coach in Division I Men’s Basketball sounds great, being the first female NBA coach carries far more weight.

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