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Karen Umlauf named Chicago Bulls Summer League Associate Coach (USA)

Women coaching in the NBA? It’s here, of course, with Becky Hammon with the Spurs, endorsed for a top job by Gregg Popovich and having been on the interview list this spring with the Milwaukee Bucks. There’s Lisa Boyer, who worked for the Cavaliers in the early 2000s, and Nancy Lieberman and Jenny Boucek from the Sacramento Kings. Also mentioned as inaugural candidates have been prominent women players and coaches, like Cheryl Miller, Tina Thompson and Dawn Staley. LeBron James already has endorsed having more women as NBA coaches. So did Pau Gasol in an open letter.

All those women are accomplished and talented, but none perhaps as experienced in the NBA and its minutiae and eminence as Karen Umlauf, the longtime Bulls Senior Director of Basketball Administration. Add Karen to the list, though she’s hardly talking about being the next or first NBA female head coach. She’s just one of the most qualified.

She will start regular work with the Bulls coaching staff for the first official time at Summer League this week as an associate coach, an additional title and responsibility while still involved in team administration.

Umlauf, whose maiden name is Stack and comes from a talented basketball family that includes her brother, Jim, a former top NBA assistant to Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, will work with the coaching staff and players. She has already been transitioning into the staff basketball operations role with film and draft work with the coaches and in practices this past season.

“We probably have waited too long to give her an opportunity like this,” said Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations John Paxson. “We all think the world of Karen. She’s a smart basketball person and this gives her an opportunity. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I talked to her a while back and said we’d like to do something along these lines. She’s a talented person, a longtime Chicago Bull.



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