The Indiana Pacers named Kelly Krauskopf, a longtime W.N.B.A. executive, as their new assistant general manager.
The team announced Monday that Krauskopf, who spent 19 seasons as the top executive for the Pacers-owned Indiana Fever, will join the Pacers’ basketball operations department on Jan. 1 alongside the team president, Kevin Pritchard; General Manager Chad Buchanan; and Peter Dinwiddie, the vice president for basketball operations.
Several women hold front-office jobs in the N.B.A., including Orlando’s Becky Bonner, Oklahoma City’s Amanda Green, Atlanta’s Michelle Leftwich, Toronto’s Teresa Resch, Houston’s Ariana Andonian and the Nets’ Natalie Jay — with Denver also recently hiring the W.N.B.A star Sue Bird. But Krauskopf will be the first woman to receive the title of assistant general manager in the N.B.A. since the 1970s, when Nancy Leonard had the role for the Pacers. Her husband, Bob Leonard, was the coach.
“It was her and I with the Pacers,” Bob Leonard, known as Slick, told The Indianapolis Star in June. “Nancy ran the business side, and I was responsible for the coaching.”
Pritchard told the newspaper Monday that Krauskopf’s role would focus “strictly on basketball.”
“As the architect of one of the W.N.B.A.’s most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport,” the Pacers’ owner, Herb Simon, said in a statement. “I’ve worked with Kelly over the past two decades, so I know her tremendous basketball mind, strong work ethic and proven leadership skills will continue to be of great benefit to our organization.”
Krauskopf began working in the W.N.B.A. league office in 1996 and joined the Pacers’ organization in 1999 when they were granted a W.N.B.A. expansion franchise. For the past year-plus, she has also been an e-sports executive, overseeing the Pacers’ NBA2K league team.
“The chance to work in an N.B.A. front office for a first-class organization filled with great people I know and in a city that has become my home is extraordinary,” Krauskopf said in a statement. “My past experience has shown me that building winning teams and elite level culture is not based on gender — it is based on people and processes.”
The Fever made 13 playoff appearances under Krauskopf’s leadership as team president and general manager, including three trips to the W.N.B.A. finals, and a league championship in 2012.
The Pacers are off to a 20-10 start and again rank as one of the league’s most surprising teams. They outperformed preseason projections last year by going 48-34 after acquiring the All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from Oklahoma City in June 2017 in a much-debated trade for Paul George. Indiana has risen to third in the East this season even though Oladipo recently missed 11 games because of soreness in his right knee.