USC Hires Former Cal Coach Lindsay Gottlieb

Lindsay Gottlieb leaves NBA job as Cavaliers assistant to become Trojans women's head basketball coach. Gottlieb was Cal's women's basketball coach until 2019.
Publish date:

Lindsay Gottlieb, who left her job as Cal's head women's basketball coach after the 2018-19 season to become an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has accepted an offer to become USC's head women's basketball coach, the school reported Monday.

She received a six-year deal with the Trojans, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and reportedly at a high salary.

It means that next season Gottlieb, 43, will be coaching against Cal and her former Bears assistant Charmin Smith, who was Gottlieb's replacement when Gottlieb took the NBA job.

The ESPN report on Gottlieb's hiring includes this information:

Gottlieb leaves the NBA after an aggressive USC pursuit to bring her back to the Pac-12 Conference, including a massive upgrade in program salary and resources with hopes of restoring USC to the elite of women's college basketball, sources said.

Gottlieb was the first female head coach from a Power 5 conference to make the leap to the NBA sidelines, moving from the University of California to the Cavaliers in 2019.

Gottlieb earned praise inside the Cleveland organization and locker room for her work with the Cavaliers, becoming a front bench assistant under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

Gottlieb had a 179-89 record in her eight years as Cal's head coach, and took the Golden Bears to the NCAA tournament in seven of those seasons. The Bears were a Final Four team in 2013, and got to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2019, her final season in Berkeley.

The Bears have gone 12-19 and 1-16 in the two season since she left.

At USC, Gottlieb replaces Mark Trakh, who retired last month after a an 11-12 season.

"It is an honor and a thrill to become the women's basketball coach at USC," Gottlieb said in a statement released by the school. "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."

"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."

Gottlieb will remain with the Cavaliers for the final four games of the regular season before leaving for USC.

"We are thrilled to name Lindsay Gottlieb our new women's basketball head coach," USC athletic director Mkie Bohn said in a statement. "A trailblazer who smashed through the glass ceiling of men's professional sports, I cannot think of a better coach, leader, and role model for our young women. Lindsay has a proven record of success in the country's premier women's basketball conference, and her commitment to student-athletes aligns perfectly with our vision and values."


Cover photo of Lindsay Gottlieb by Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports


Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

Find Cal Sports Report on Facebook by searching: @si.calsportsreport or going to