International Women’s Day was celebrated on Tuesday and it is impossible to follow the Pacers and not appreciate the women involved in making the franchise run, let alone this site.
IC’s own Caitlin Cooper has ascended to legendary status, not only among Pacers fans but across the NBA for her ability to analyze both the big picture and small minutiae of the NBA game as it relates to the Pacers (and elsewhere ). Long gone are the, ‘wait, she’s a girl?!?’ responses I laughed at when CC was simply known as C. Cooper on the site. Yep, this women knows hoops better than you and when it comes to analyzing what is going on, no one does it better!
The Pacers organization also has a great lineup of influential women, starting at the top with Mel Raines who recently took over CEO Rick Fuson’s prior title of President and Chief Operating Officer of the Fieldhouse. Raines ran the Fieldhouse ops before her promotion and prior to that had a successful leadership role with the Super Bowl Host Committee working with another local leader, Allison Melangton.
Prior to the Pacers tip against Cleveland on Tuesday, Rick Carlisle took time to acknowledge all of the women who help the basketball operations side of the Fieldhouse roll, starting with Assistant GM, Kelly Krauskopf, whose impeccable credentials with the Indiana Fever, including building championship teams, earned her a voice with the Pacers decision makers.
Pacers assistant coach Jenny Boucek is one of the pioneers among female coaches in the NBA after joining Carlisle’s staff in Dallas four years ago. When asked about what influenced his decision to add Boucek to his staff, Carlisle revealed her approach to offense in the WNBA.
“She’s (Boucek) had elite offensive teams in the WNBA,” Carlisle said. “She has two championships in that league as an assistant coach and a lot of success has a head coach with Sacramento and Seattle.”
Carlisle has known Boucek since 2000, but developed a stronger relationship when she spent a month of training camp with the Mavericks in 2014 with the goal of observing how the Mavs implemented their offense from day one through the entire month.
“I just love her overall view and grasp of the game,” Carlisle continued. “She’s done a great job here of cultivating really strong relationships with our players. She’s great with everything from player development to great ideas for after timeout plays and everything in between. It’s been an honor to work with her, this will be the fourth year in a row. She has a really great presence on our staff.”
Carlisle acknowledged several other women he works with on the basketball side of the organization. Here is that list and the varied roles they fill for the organization, which is indeed impressive:
Kelly Krauskopf - Assistant General Manager
Jenny Boucek - Assistant Coach
Jolie Watson - Team Nutrition Manager
Ayami Sato - Head Athletic Trainer for Mad Ants
Krissy Myers - Media Relations legend
Karen Atkeson - Vice President Player Relations
Jasmine Smits - Pacers & Mad Ants Player Relations
Chef Ke’Rece Taylor - Team sous chef
Joy Duboff - Intern
Susy Fischer - long-time Executive Assistant for Exec team aka makes things hum
Sonya Clutinger - Vice President/Basketball Administration
Sarah Kessler - Performance data analyst
Paige Sterner - Social media coordinator