Pelicans add Teresa Weatherspoon, AJ Diggs to coaching staff

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              FILE - In this March 17, 2010, file photo, Louisiana Tech women's basketball coach Teresa Weatherspoon calls a play during practice in Ruston, La. The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Weatherspoon and AJ Diggs as assistant coaches with a focus on player development. (AP Photo/Kita Wright, File)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Teresa Weatherspoon and AJ Diggs as assistant coaches with a focus on player development.

The club says the new assistants have been assigned to work with the Pelicans’ two-way players and will travel with them to assignments with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

Weatherspoon, who this summer was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was one of the original players in the WNBA in 1997. She was a star guard for the New York Liberty and spent the last four seasons as the Liberty’s director of player and franchise development.

She won a national championship with Louisiana Tech in 1988 and later coached there. Weatherspoon also played professionally in Europe.

Diggs has had several coaching positions in the G League, most recently with Raptors 905. He has coached with the Maine Red Claws and Austin Spurs.

With the hiring of Weatherspoon, the Pelicans now have women holding positions of ownership, management and assistant coach.

Gayle Benson, the widow of late owner Tom Benson, owns the club. David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, added former WNBA player and executive Swin Cash to his staff this year as vice president of basketball operations and player development.

The hiring trend across major professional sports has gained momentum since Becky Hammon became an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Weatherspoon brings to 11 the number of female assistant coaches in the NBA, most of them hired since 2017.

Also this week, Seattle’s expansion NHL team hired Cammi Granato as a scout.