Mavs assistant coach Jenny Boucek is breaking ground in the NBA. As the first pregnant coach, she will be a mother to a newborn as the Mavericks begin the 2018-19 season.
Boucek discussed her pregnancy with ESPN’s Zach Lowe in a terrific article which details her decision to start a family at the same time her NBA career launched. She had previously coached in the WNBA before joining the Sacramento Kings’ staff in October 2017, just as she was preparing to begin in vitro fertilization.
“It was overwhelming,” Boucek told ESPN. “My two biggest dreams were happening at the same time.”
Every person — man or woman — should be able to start a family when they want. “Women get pregnant in every workforce,” Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon told ESPN. “There are female CEOs who get pregnant. This should be no different.” But the time and travel demands of NBA coaching create unique challenges, especially for a single parent like Boucek will be. A respected basketball mind and a hopeful parent, there was no question she could coach or be a mother. “Now it became: Can I really do both?” Boucek said. “Can it be done? It hadn’t been done in the NBA.”
But along with some of her closest friends, including Hammon and Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has supported Boucek all the way. Boucek spent time with the Mavs in 2011 and 2014 and even discussed her pregnancy with Carlisle, the president of the Coaches Association, in February.
“This is an important moment for our league,” Carlisle told ESPN. “Qualified women are a reality. They are bright. They are ass-kickers. They belong in this league. They should not have to compromise the dream of motherhood for professional success.”