Assistant Coach, Cleveland Cavaliers
National Advisory Board
Many coaches struggle to find the right balance between success on the court and success in the classroom while empowering student-athletes to enjoy their experiences and letting their individual personalities shine. Since being hired on April 25, 2011 as the head coach at California, Lindsay Gottlieb has shown the ability to find the perfect balance in Berkeley by taking the program to unprecedented heights. In 2019, Gottlieb, after a final Four and seven NCAA Tournament appearances as head coach for Cal – became the first women’s collegiate head coach recruited to an NBA coaching staff, as Assistant Coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since Gottlieb earned her first head coaching job in 2008-09, only eight coaches have taken their team to an NCAA Final Four appearance, with Gottlieb becoming the eighth coach after leading her 2012-13 California squad to a 32-4 record that included the program’s first Pac-12 regular season championship as well as the first Elite Eight and Final Four bids in 40 years of California women’s basketball. Doing so in her second season in Berkeley, Gottlieb became just the seventh coach in the country since 1990 to coach her team to the Final Four in her first two seasons at the helm of a program.
The 2012-13 season was a record-breaking season for the Golden Bears that culminated in Gottlieb being named a finalist for the prestigious Naismith National Coach of the Year award in addition to being named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the media after leading her team to a 17-1 conference record.
Earning praise for her ability to gameplan and make in-game adjustments, Gottlieb became just the fifth coach to win a Pac-12 title in her first two seasons as a head coach in the conference. She is the only active coach in the conference to lead her team to a road victory at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion, a feat she accomplished with a 67-55 victory on January 13, 2013 that ended the Cardinal’s 81-game conference winning streak and announced California’s ascension into the conference and national championship discussions.
Gottlieb’s Bears reeled off a program-record 15 consecutive wins to end the regular season and earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In a run that surpassed the combined NCAA Tournament win total of all previous California head coaches, Gottlieb led her team to victories over Fresno State, South Florida, LSU and Georgia to reach the 2013 Final Four. She holds a career NCAA Tournament record of 5-3 in three appearances – once as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara and twice at California.
Leading teams to success in the postseason isn’t her only specialty though. In her two seasons at California, Gottlieb has amassed a 57-14 record – another California-best that set a new mark for most wins in a two-year period in Berkeley. Already the first coach to win 20 games in her first season with the Bears, her program-record 32 wins in the 2012-13 season helped solidify her position as No. 3 all-time in the Pac-12 for winning percentage in all games as a Pac-12 coach (57-14, .803) and winning percentage in conference games as a Pac-12 coach (30-6, .833). The 32 wins also marked just the 12th time in conference history that a team surpassed the 30-win barrier, going down as the seventh-best single-season win total in Pac-12 history.
Utilizing an up-tempo, attractive brand of basketball, Gottlieb’s approach has helped revitalize West Coast women’s basketball with guard Layshia Clarendon thriving under Gottlieb’s system en route to being selected No. 9 by the Indiana Fever in the 2013 WNBA Draft as the first player based on the West Coast to be selected. Clarendon twice earned All-America honors in two years playing under Gottlieb and was selected as the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year. In total at California, Gottlieb has coached players to three All-America seasons in two years with Clarendon earning honors in 2012 and 2013 in addition to Gennifer Brandon earning honors in 2013.
In her first season at the helm in Berkeley in 2011-12, Gottlieb took Cal back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 with her Bears advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.Gottlieb also led the Bears to a second place Pac-12 finish in her inaugural season, just the third time since joining the Pac-10 in its inaugural season (1985-86) that the Bears finished in second place and it was only the second time that Cal has finished with sole possession of second.