Gottlieb leaves the NBA after an aggressive USC pursuit to bring her back to the Pac-12 Conference, including a massive upgrade in program salary and resources with hopes of restoring USC to the elite of women’s college basketball, sources said.
Gottlieb earned praise inside the Cleveland organization and locker room for her work with the Cavaliers, becoming a front bench assistant under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Gottlieb played a role in everything on Bickerstaff’s coaching staff, including game preparation and player development with the Cavs’ strong young core of Jarrett Allen, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro.
Gottlieb will remain with the Cavaliers for the final four games of the regular season before leaving for USC, sources said. Her agent, Bret Just of WME Sports, finalized details of the deal with USC athletic director Mike Bohn on Monday morning, sources said.
Gottlieb, 43, built a perennial NCAA tournament team in her eight seasons at Cal, including a trip to the Final Four in 2013. She advanced to the NCAA tournament seven times in those eight seasons, winning tournament games in six of those seven years.
Gottlieb led UCSB to the NCAA and WNIT tournaments in three seasons before Cal hired her away in 2011. She coached several of her stars, including New York’s Layshia Clarendon and Los Angeles’ Kristine Anigwe, to the WNBA.