NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ashley McElhiney was introduced as the new coach of the expansion Nashville Rhythm of the American Basketball Association on Monday, becoming the first female head coach of a professional men’s basketball team.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me on so many levels,” the 22-year-old McElhiney said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of building this team from the ground up.”
A former standout guard for Vanderbilt, McElhiney was taken by the Indiana Fever in the third round of last year’s WNBA Draft but was released before playing a game.
“I’ve said from Day One that my goal was not only to put a competitive team on the floor, but to give qualified females opportunities they are not normally afforded,” Rhythm owner Sally Anthony said. “Ultimately, I think the Nashville Rhythm, and the ABA as a whole, can be a stepping stone for a qualified woman to coach in the NBA.”
Last year, Tennessee State athletic director Teresa Phillips became the first woman ever to coach a Division I men’s team after interim coach Hosea Lewis was suspended for one game.
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