Before she became the first woman to serve as a head coach in the NBA and the first full-time assistant coach in the NBA (or any of the four American major professional sports), Becky Hammon was the most decorated women’s basketball player in Colorado State history, and one of the best to play in the Western Athletic Conference, regardless of gender.
In her four years with the Rams, from 1996 to 1999, Hammon helped lead Colorado State to its first three NCAA tournaments, picking up myriad personal accolades along the way. Here are five of the most impressive facts about Hammon's stellar career:
1. Hammon is the Western Athletic Conference’s all-time leading scorer, regardless of gender.
Hammon scored 2,740 points at Colorado State, putting her at No. 31 all time in women’s basketball (she was No. 11 all-time when she graduated). It also puts her 653 points ahead of Julie Krommenhoek at No. 2 in WAC women’s basketball, and 198 points ahead of Keith Van Horn on the men’s side.
2. Hammon helped lead CSU to its first three NCAA tournaments.
Colorado State had never been to an NCAA tournament before 1996. In 1998, Hammon put up 56 points in the Rams two tournament games, the second of which was a loss that sent them home. In 1999, Hammon became one of only three players to make 16 free throws in a first- or second-round game, and the only to do so twice. Colorado State advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first (and only) time.
3. Hammon was Colorado State’s first-ever consensus All-American in 1999.
That season, Hammon averaged 22.9 points per game, with more than three 3-pointers and almost five assists and three steals per game.
4. Hammon won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1999, given to the best college player under a specific height (6-0 for men, 5-8 for women)
Other notable winners of the award are Muggsy Bogues, Tim Hardaway, Tony Bennett, Nate Robinson, Kim Mulkey and Suzie McConnell.
5. Hammon holds more than 25 school and conference records.
Those include points in a career, points per game, three-pointers, free throws, steals, and more. Here’s what CSU’s single-season points record looks like:
Hammon became the first woman to serve as a head coach in the NBA on Dec. 30, 2020 when San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Obviously, it's a big deal," Hammon said. "It's a substantial moment. I've been a part of this organization, I got traded here in 2007, so I've been in San Antonio a part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, and building me and getting me better."
Becky Hammon took over head coaching duties for the Spurs after Pop was ejected.— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 31, 2020
She is the first woman to serve as head coach in an NBA game. pic.twitter.com/Cp8r0Sj0w3