Augustana Alum Paving a Way for Women in the NBA

Teresa Resch returned to Augie's campus with the NBA Championship trophy

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Growing up Teresa Resch never dreamed of working in an NBA front office, let alone becoming the vice president of basketball operations and player development for the Toronto Raptors, and playing a vital behind the scenes of their first-ever NBA Championship.

“No way, when I was a little girl the NBA didn’t even exist in the Midwest,” said Resch. “The Timberwolves came on board when I was in late elementary school, so that was my first introduction to the NBA.”

The Augustana alum was one of the first women hired by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri.

Since then the Raptors have hired 11 women to their team or their G-League affiliate the Raptors 905.

“People are just not used to seeing women in positions of leadership,” said Resch. “Now there are so many examples of it that it doesn’t seem odd anymore, and it’s become a valuable piece of every organization.”

The progression of women in the NBA has been imminent.

In 2014, Rapid City native Becky Hammon became the first woman to ever be hired to an NBA coaching staff by the San Antonio Spurs.

This past summer, Iowa native Brittni Donaldson became the first woman to be hired to the Raptors coaching staff, making 10 women that have active NBA coaching positions.

With more female coaches in the league, Resch says it’s a credit to their basketball knowledge.

“I think Popovich saw that [Becky] was going to add a lot of value to that team and she has,” said Resch. “The same way Nick saw Brittni can add a lot of value to his staff and that’s why they’re hired. It’s not necessarily because they’re a woman or because they played at a high level, it’s because of what they bring to the table.”

Resch says that women in the league are now becoming the norm instead of the exception, which was not the case 15-20 years ago.

About 40 percent of professional administration in the NBA are women.

That’s roughly two percent more than in the NFL and about ten percent more than Major League Baseball.

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