The Pelicans have made Swin Cash one of the highest-ranking female executives in the NBA.
In another major advancement for women in professional sports, the New Orleans Pelicans are hiring former UConn and WNBA star Swin Cash for a senior front-office position, which will make the 39-year-old one of the highest-ranking female executive in the sport.
The team will name Cash vice president of basketball operations and team development, sources said. She will scout, help guide player development on and off the floor, and assume other roles within the organization.
Since becoming executive president of basketball operations, David Griffin has been busy trying to stabilize the Pelicans organization in the front office and on the court.
He’s also dealing with Anthony Davis’ desires to leave the Pelicans and has a huge draft coming up with Zion Williamson entering the fold. Cash’s hiring follows the hiring of Trajan Langdon away from the Brooklyn Nets to serve as the Pelicans’ new general manager.
Prior to Langdon’s hiring, Aaron Nelson, head of the Phoenix Suns‘ highly regarded training staff for two decades was brought in as the Pelicans’ new vice president of player care and performance.
Cash’s illustrious career included National Championships in college and WNBA titles.
In 2017, the New York Liberty named Cash director of franchise development. Prior to her rise as an executive, Cash has always been a superstar face of the WNBA and vocal leader in the league’s women empowerment movement.
Cash joins a growing sorority of women executives in the NBA, but she’s rare because her main job description involves making personnel decisions and dealing hands-on with the basketball operations.
The Warriors have six women in vice president or higher positions, three of whom have been hired in the past three months.
According to an article on SF Chronicle, “Having six women in VP or higher positions puts the Warriors among the NBA’s top third, according to the league office. It’s difficult to grade because every team’s organizational flow chart is different, but the top-third estimate might be conservative.
No other team lists six female employees at VP or higher levels in their staff directory. Aside from women with ownership stakes, only Mavericks president Cynthia Marshall and Clippers president Gillian Zucker rank higher than Chase Center general manager Kim Stone and Warriors chief financial officer Jennifer Cabalquinto.”
Quite a special moment this evening as @DallasMavs CEO @cyntmarshall and @LAClippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker watch the game together. Marshall and Zucker are the highest-ranking female executives in the @NBA #HerTimeToPlay pic.twitter.com/6T9GykkQE6
— Mavs Care (@MavsCare) January 23, 2019
Cash’s promotion is another step in the struggle for equality for women seeking executive leadership positions in men’s sports.
The NBA remains among the professional sports’ leaders in hiring women for coaching and basketball-operations positions. San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon is close to becoming the first woman head coach in NBA history and Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever VP of Basketball Operations), Kelly Krauskopf (Indiana Pacers Assistant GM) and Diana Taurasi reportedly are on deck for NBA GM jobs.
The league still has a way to go as Hammon and Kristi Toliver, who works for both the Washington Wizards and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, are the only female assistant coaches in the NBA.