Pacers promote longtime Fever exec Krauskopf, giving NBA its first female assistant GM

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The Indiana Pacers have hired from within to give the NBA its first-ever female assistant general manager.

The team on Monday announced Kelly Krauskopf, a longtime executive within Pacers Sports & Entertainment who helped build its Indiana Fever franchise, will join the NBA team’s front office full time starting Jan. 1.

KrauskopfKelly Krauskopf

Krauskopf has been with the Pacers since 1999. She served as president and general manager of the Fever before taking over as general manager of the Pacers’ esports NBA2K League team when it launched in 2017.

She will vacate her role with the esports team as part of her move to the Pacers front office, the Pacers said in a news release.

Krauskopf said in a statement she was thankful for the opportunity, calling it “extraordinary.”

The chance to work in an NBA front office for a first-class organization filled with great people I know and in a city that has become my home is extraordinary,” she said.

In addition to helping guide the Fever to the 2012 WNBA title, three Finals appearance since 2009 and 13 playoff trips, Krauskopf has been involved in the selection process for the USA Basketball women’s national team.

“As the architect of one of the WNBA’s most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport,” Pacers owner Herb Simon said in a written statement. “I’ve worked with Kelly over the past two decades, so I know her tremendous basketball mind, strong work ethic and proven leadership skills will continue to be of great benefit to our organization.”

She also was named a Woman of Influence by the Indianapolis Business Journal this year.

Krauskopf will work directly with the Pacers' President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, General Manager Chad Buchanan and Assistant General Manager Peter Dinwiddie.

Pritchard called Krauskopf “well-respected in all basketball circles,” and said it “made complete sense” to hire from within.

While several women serve in executive roles throughout the NBA, Krauskopf’s hire as assistant general manager is arguably the most significant the league has seen in its history.

She came to Indianapolis after heading the WNBA as its first director of basketball operations, a role she took on in 1996. Krauskopf also worked as an assistant commissioner for the Southwest Conference and as the managing director of league development for the Dallas-based Media Sports Partnership. She played college basketball for Texas A&M.

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