Edniesha Curry will continue her trailblazing ways as a basketball coach — this time with the Trail Blazers.

Edniesha Curry Credit: Ronald Gillis / UMaine Athletics

Curry, the first woman to serve as an assistant coach with the University of Maine men’s basketball program, has accepted a position to become the first woman to serve as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple reports Monday.

She joins former Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks and former L.A. Clippers assistant coach Roy Rogers on the staff of new Trail Blazers coach Chaucey Billups.

Curry’s hiring was reported first by Jason Quick of The Atlantic.

The 42-year-old Curry returns to Oregon where she completed her college playing career at the University of Oregon after transferring from Cal-State Northridge, where she led the Matadors in scoring for three consecutive seasons and became the school’s career leader in 3-pointers with 168. the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers with 168.

After averaging 15.3 points per game at Cal-State Northridge as a junior, the Los Angeles-born guard transferred to Oregon and earned All-Pac 10 honorable mention status as a senior while leading the Ducks to the 2002 WNIT championship.

She was a third-round draft choice of the Charlotte Sting in the 2002 WNBA Draft and went on to play professionally from 2002 and 2009 in the WNBA for the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks and with teams overseas in Greece, Poland, Israel, and Hungary.

After her playing career, Curry was a marketing assistant with NBA and WNBA Global Basketball with Adidas, then embarked on a coaching career in Vietnam, China, Israel and Palestine before making her first stop at UMaine as an assistant coach with the Black Bears’ women’s basketball team under head coach Richard Barron from 2015 to 2017.

She then worked with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program and with Atlanta Classical Academy as the women’s athletic program manager before returning to UMaine in April 2018 when Barron was named head coach of the Black Bears’ men’s basketball team.

“I just want to coach basketball,” said Curry, who at the time became the only woman serving as a full-time assistant coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball. “It doesn’t matter for me if it’s men or women, it’s basketball to me and if I was given an opportunity to coach men, I’m going to coach it the same way.”

Curry remained active in NBA circles with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program, including time spent as an ACP mentor coach teaching former WNBA and NBA players seeking to transition to the coaching ranks about the software and other technology used in the league.

She also spent nearly a month in 2019 as a guest coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs working with the organization’s Sacramento and Las Vegas summer league teams.

During her time in Las Vegas, Curry worked under then-San Antonio assistant coach Becky Hammon, who has been considered one of the top candidates to become the first woman to serve as an NBA head coach.

Hammon and current University of South Carolina and U.S. Olympic women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley were reportedly among the finalists, along with Billups, for the vacancy in Portland when the Trail Blazers parted ways with Terry Stotts in early June after nine seasons.

“I’m not one to say what it takes for another woman to get there versus your own journey,” Curry said after working with Hammon with the Spurs.

“In the end it’s about work, and when I was with the Spurs we worked together and enjoyed each other, and that’s what my time there was about. Everyone’s journey is different. I just work hard, and wherever my journey takes me, it takes me.”

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...