Many coaches struggle to find the right balance between success on the court and success in the classroom while empowering student-athletes to enjoy their experiences and letting their individual personalities shine.
Since Gottlieb earned her first head coaching job in 2008-09, only 13 coaches have taken their team to an NCAA Final Four appearance, with Gottlieb becoming the eighth coach on that list after leading her 2012-13 California squad to a 32-4 record that included the program’s first Pac-12 regular season championship as well as the first Elite Eight and Final Four bids in 40 years of California women’s basketball. Doing so in her second season in Berkeley, Gottlieb became just the seventh coach since 1990 to coach her team to the Final Four in her first two seasons at the helm of a program. The Bears followed the success of the historical 2012-13 season with an NCAA Tournament bid each of the following two seasons. Gottlieb’s most recent season saw a youthful Bears squad post a 15-17 record, highlighted by a magical run to the semifinals of the 2016 Pac-12 Tournament. Kristine Anigwe was the near-consensus National Freshman of the Year, earning USBWA and CollegeSportsMadness.com honors, while also being named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
The 2014-15 Bears logged another 20-win campaign after finishing at 24-10 overall and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. Cal tied for third in the Pac-12, reached the championship game of the conference tournament, and earned a second-round berth in the NCAA Tournament. The season also saw Gottlieb notch her 100th Cal win, becoming the quickest coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark. She also became the third active Pac-12 coach with at least 100 wins at his or her respective institution.
Following Cal’s 2014-15 NCAA Tournament run, seniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray became the first Golden Bear duo to be selected in the same year of the WNBA Draft, with Boyd going No. 9 to the New York Liberty and Gray selected by the Minnesota Lynx at No. 16.
In her third season in Berkeley, 2013-14, Gottlieb guided Cal to a 22-10 record and a third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth after finishing as the conference runner-up. With another 20-win season under her belt, Gottlieb became the winningest Cal women’s basketball coach over a three-year period, notching a 79-24 record.
The 2012-13 season was a record-breaking season for the Golden Bears that culminated in Gottlieb being named a finalist for the prestigious Naismith National Coach of the Year award in addition to the media selecting Gottlieb as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year after she led her team to a 17-1 conference record.
Earning praise for her ability to gameplan and make in-game adjustments, 2012-13 also marked the year that Gottlieb became just the fifth coach to win a Pac-12 title in her first two seasons as a head coach in the conference. She was the first active coach in the conference to lead her team to a road victory at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion, a feat she accomplished with a 67-55 victory on January 13, 2013 that ended the Cardinal’s 81-game winning streak against conference foes and announced California’s ascension into the conference and national championship discussions.
Gottlieb’s Bears reeled off a program-record 16 consecutive wins to end the regular season and earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In a run that surpassed the combined NCAA Tournament win total of all previous California head coaches, Gottlieb led her team to victories over Fresno State, South Florida, LSU and Georgia to reach the 2013 Final Four. She holds a career NCAA Tournament record of 7-5 in five appearances – once as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara and four times at California.
Leading teams to success in the postseason isn’t her only specialty though. In her five seasons at California, Gottlieb has amassed a 118-51 record – more California-bests by setting new marks for most wins in a two-year, three-year, and four-year period in Berkeley. Already the first coach to win 20 games in her first season with the Bears, her program-record 32 wins in the 2012-13 marked just the 12th time in conference history that a team surpassed the 30-win barrier.
Utilizing an up-tempo, attractive brand of basketball, Gottlieb’s approach has helped revitalize West Coast women’s basketball. In total at California, Gottlieb has five coached players to seven All-America seasons in five years with Layshia Clarendon earning honors in 2012 and 2013, Gennifer Brandon in 2013, Boyd in 2014 and 2015, Gray in 2015, and Anigwe in 2016.
In her first season at the helm in Berkeley in 2011-12, Gottlieb took Cal back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 with her Bears advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Gottlieb also led the Bears to a second place Pac-12 finish in her inaugural season, just the third time since joining the Pac-10 in its inaugural season (1985-86) that the Bears finished in second place and it was only the second time that Cal has finished with sole possession of second.
Getting A Start At UCSB
Before returning to Cal where she spent three years as an assistant to Joanne Boyle, Gottlieb spent three seasons as the head coach at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 2008-11. In her three seasons with UCSB, Gottlieb led the Gauchos to two postseason berths and a pair of Big West Conference championships, amassing a 56-39 (.589) record. Previously, she spent two seasons as a Cal assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in 2007-08.
In 2010-11, Gottlieb guided the Gauchos to their second Big West title in her three seasons at the helm, amassing a 19-12 record (12-4 in the Big West) before falling in the first round of the WNIT to USC. Gottlieb's first team in 2008-09 amassed a 22-10 overall record and a 15-1 mark in the Big West, claiming the conference's regular-season and tournament crowns to earn an NCAA Tournament appearance. As a result, she was named the 2009 Big West Coach of the Year. Gottlieb was the first-ever coach at UCSB to win 20 games in her first season and became one of only seven active coaches nationwide to win 20 games in her first year and also be named Coach of the Year.
Other accolades for Gottlieb include becoming the first coach in UCSB history to win her first 11 conference games and the first coach in school annals to finish her inaugural season with a winning record.
In 2010-11, Gottlieb led the Gauchos to their 18th consecutive winning season and the team won at least 20 games for the 12th time in the past 14 years. The Gauchos led the Big West in both field goal percentage (43.2 percent) and field goal percentage defense (35.4 percent) as well as being tops in the conference in rebounding (40.2 per game).
Under her tutelage, UCSB ranked in the nation's top 10 in field goal percentage defense and the top 20 in points allowed per game while setting a school record in free throw percentage in the 2008-09 season.
Following her time at UCSB, Gottlieb became the ninth head coach for the California Golden Bears women's basketball program by replacing Boyle, who resigned her position to take over the head coaching duties at the University of Virginia.
First Run In Berkeley
Gottlieb initially joined the Cal staff as an assistant coach in 2005-06, a position she held for two seasons before being elevated to associate head coach in 2007-08. During her time in Berkeley, she worked with all aspects of the program, including recruiting and scouting, and served as the team's academic liaison.
Gottlieb was integral to the development of Cal's post players, including Devanei Hampton, the 2006-07 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, and Ashley Walker, an All-American and Cal's first player to be selected in the first round of the WNBA draft.
In Gottlieb's inaugural year as an assistant in Berkeley, Cal posted its first winning record (18-12) in 13 years and received its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1993. In 2006-07, Gottlieb helped Cal register a 23-9 mark - one win shy of equaling the school's win record at the time - and earn another bid to the NCAA Tournament. Cal's 2007-08 squad made the program's first-ever appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament championship game and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
East Coast Beginnings
Gottlieb spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Richmond under Boyle before the two came to Cal. The Spiders posted 20-plus wins each year and advanced to the postseason three times. In 2004-05, Richmond finished with a 23-8 record and earned the program's first NCAA Tournament berth in 14 years. The Spiders were invited to the 2003 and 2004 WNIT.
Prior to Gottlieb's stint at Richmond, she served as an assistant coach at New Hampshire in 2001-02 under head coach Sue Johnson.
Before joining the New Hampshire staff, Gottlieb was an assistant coach for two years at Syracuse with Marianna Freeman at the helm. In addition to her coaching duties for the Big East program, Gottlieb was the assistant director of the school's girls' basketball camp. While at Syracuse, she earned her Master's degree in Philosophy of Education.
Gottlieb obtained additional coaching expertise with the Westchester Basketball Association AAU program and Kutsher's Sports Academy.
The Scarsdale, N.Y., native graduated from Brown in 1999 with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science and was a member of the women's basketball team. Gottlieb was a student assistant coach during the 1998-99 campaign and received the Team Heart and Soul Award in 1999.