5 things to know about new Hawks assistant Brittni Donaldson




Hawks coach Quin Snyder has continued to round out his staff with the addition of assistant Brittni Donaldson. The 30-year-old coach became the first female assistant in the history of the Hawks and will focus mostly on analytics.

She joins a Hawks staff that includes Igor Kokoskov, Mike Brey, Antonio Lang, Jeff Watkinson and Steven Klei.

Here are five things to know about her.

1) Donaldson is one of seven female assistants in the NBA and is the youngest at 30. The new Hawks assistant became the youngest female assistant when the Raptors elevated her to an assistant in 2019 at 26.

The other female assistants are Jenny Boucek (Pacers), Candice Dupree (Spurs), Lindsey Harding (Kings), Sonia Raman (Grizzlies), Kristi Toliver (Mavericks) and Teresa Weatherspoon (Pelicans).

2) A former guard at the University of Northern Iowa (2011-15), Donaldson had goals to play basketball professionally, but a number of injuries forced her to switch her focus to a different path. She learned to see the game through the eyes of the coaches while on the bench.

She graduated with a degree in statistics and actuarial sciences and has worked to translate the data she has gathered to coaches and other decision-makers.

Her experience as a player and dealing with injuries allowed her to connect with some of the players, such as Pistons guard Jaden Ivey, who she was tasked with developing. Ivey, who was named to the All-Rookie team in May, requested to work with Donaldson.

The Hawks have plenty of young talent on their roster, including wing AJ Griffin, who the Hawks selected at No. 16 in the 2022 NBA draft. They also have Jalen Johnson, a 2021 first-round draft pick who cracked the team’s rotation toward the end of the regular season this year.

3) Donaldson leaned on her background as a player and her experience with data and technology to co-found youth sports program Strata Athletics. It provides research-driven coaching curriculum for each age group.

Their goal was to find ways to keep kids interested in sports and help develop them not only as athletes but as people.

Now, the Hawks have another developmental-minded coach in their ranks to help build up the young talent they have on their roster.

4) She will bring championship-caliber experience to the Hawks from winning an NBA title with the Raptors in 2019. In an interview with Evan Burk of “The Highest Level” podcast, Donaldson noted how much patience it took for the Raptors front office to build the roster that eventually won the title.

Now Donaldson will be able to apply some of what she learned over the years under the guidance of then-Raptors coach Nick Nurse. She’ll also be able to take the experience she has gained with the Pistons in helping to develop young players.

5) The Iowa native boasts talent off the court, as well. During her sophomore year, her teammates named her the team’s best singer. They also noted that she plays the guitar.