The Toronto Raptors announced the hiring of two new assistant coaches on Monday: Jon Goodwillie and Brittni Donaldson.
With all due respect to Goodwillie, an Etobicoke, Ontario native who served as an assistant on Nick Nurse’s staff with the Canadian national team, it is Donaldson that gets the headline for this story.
Donaldson is the first woman to be hired by the Raptors as an assistant coach – the fifth female coach hired by an NBA team this summer. There are now 10 female assistant coaches in the NBA, and Donaldson is the youngest at just 26 years old – making her younger than Raps players Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, and Serge Ibaka.
Donaldson’s path is an unconventional one, and not just because of her gender. She doesn’t have much coaching experience and wasn’t a star player in college or the WNBA. Instead, she comes from a basketball analytics background.
Playing guard for the University of Northern Iowa from 2011 to 2015, Donaldson picked up a degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science.
The Sioux City, Iowa native is being promoted to the coaching staff after two seasons in the Raptors’ front office working as a data analyst in the Basketball Operations department. Prior to joining the Raptors, Donaldson worked with STATS LLC for two years, doing player tracking and creating customized reports for NBA front offices, coaching staffs, and media outlets.
Donaldson worked as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this offseason, and served as an instruction at the Giants of Africa basketball camps in Tanzania and South Sudan.
Other moves announced by the Raptors include retaining assistant coaches Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren, Patrick Mutombo, and Jim Sann. The team has also promoted John Corbacio to head video coordinator/assistant coach, Tyler Marsh to assistant video coordinator/player development coach, and added Fabulous Flournoy and Mark Tyndale as assistant video coordinators/player development coaches.