USC hires Cavs’ Lindsay Gottlieb to lead women’s basketball team

Gottlieb brings valuable Pac-12 and postseason experience to a program that has underperformed recently.

Cleveland Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb will be the new head coach of the USC women’s basketball team, USC athletic director Mike Bohn announced Monday.

Gottlieb served as Cal’s head coach from 2012-19, leading the Golden Bears to every NCAA Tournament but one in that span. She agreed to a six-year contract with USC, according to ESPN.

“It is an honor and a thrill to become the women’s basketball coach at USC,” she said in a statement released by the university. “I am inspired by the incredible history of this program and excited about the opportunity to do special things with the young women I will have the privilege to coach.”

Gottlieb takes the reins from Mark Trakh, who retired in April after serving a second head coaching stint with the Trojans for the past four seasons.

USC hasn’t been a dominant program in recent years. The Trojans hovered around .500 during Trakh’s latter tenure and have not had a winning record in Pac-12 play since the 2013-14 season. This past year, USC went 11-12 overall and finished eighth in the conference with an 8-10 record.

Bohn hopes Gottlieb can transform the USC women’s basketball team into a consistent contender.

“After an incredible experience in the NBA, Lindsay is taking leadership of our program at a time when she has become her very best as a coach and teacher,” Bohn said in a statement. “We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the Women of Troy back to national prominence.”

Gottlieb demonstrated her ability to make an immediate impact at Cal, taking her first team in 2012 to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. She was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2013 and was only the seventh NCAA women’s coach to reach the Final Four in their first two seasons since 1990.

Six of Gottlieb’s players at Cal were selected in the WNBA Draft. The last USC player picked in the draft was Temi Fagbenle in 2016.

Gottlieb will assume her new role after the Cavaliers wrap up their season on Sunday, according to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I went to the NBA to challenge myself at the highest levels of the game of basketball and was fully invested in that journey,” Gottlieb said. “However, the commitment of President Carol Folt and athletic director Mike Bohn to women’s basketball at USC, and to my vision of success, made it clear that NOW is the right time to come here and use all my coaching experience to partner with the young women in the program, the administration and our future student-athletes to make USC women’s basketball the most dynamic program in the country.”