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NBA Development League team Iowa Energy hires female assistant coach

Nikki Gross will be the only female assistant coach in the D-League next season.

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The D-League will have a female assistant coach next season. The Iowa Energy have promoted former video coordinator Nicki Gross to the position after a year with the organization, the team announced.

Gross made her way from the bottom, as an intern for the Las Vegas Summer League since 2013. She then joined the Bakersfield Jam in the 2013-14 season as assistant video coordinator before being hired by the Energy. Gross impressed during her lone season in Iowa and was promoted.

She will now follow in the footsteps of former assistant coach Stephanie Ready and former head coach Nancy Lieberman in the tradition of women coaching in the D-League.

"It's something I've worked for, and I'm really excited for the opportunity," Gross told the Des Moines Register. "Pretty excited to get going and for the season to come up."

The 26-year-old doesn't want her gender to be the story.

"I don't really see myself as any different," Gross said. "It's the same job. It's the same sport. So it's exciting, but I never even thought about it in that term."

The announcement, however, is another example of women being hired for positions that were once reserved excusively for men. In the NBA, Becky Hammon recently became the first female assistant coach. She led the Spurs' Summer League team to a championship in Las Vegas this summer. In the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as an inside linebackers coach.

The D-League will kick off its 15th season in November.