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'OshVegas is a special place': Bucks' barrier-breaking coach started career with Herd

Sidney Dobner - the first ever woman on the Bucks coaching staff - credits her time with the Herd for helping to jumpstart her career.
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 07, 2023

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (NBC 26) — Even a week later, Sidney Dobner's promotion still hasn't set in.

"It kind of just doesn't feel real yet," Dobner, who recently became the first woman to join the Bucks coaching staff, said. "But somebody has to be the first and I'm really grateful that this organization has given me the opportunity."

Milwaukee's new head coach, Adrian Griffin, has assembled a veteran coaching staff that even includes two former head coaches. But Dobner is by far his most unique assistant.

"That's probably my best hire, to be honest with you," Griffin said. "No disrespect to the other coaches."

Dobner - who was formerly the Bucks video coordinator - took the initiative to make it happen. With the final spot on the staff still open, she threw her hat in the ring.

"I reached out to Coach Griff and shot my shot a little bit," she said. "The NBA moves fast and sometimes you've just got to take hold of your opportunity.

"Next thing I knew I was being announced as an assistant coach, so it worked out," she laughed.

Griffin said of hundreds of applicants, Dobner was the only woman. At the time, he had no idea she was a franchise first.

"We found out after the fact and kind of celebrated," he said. "And I announced it to our staff and said 'Hey, we made history. Well, Sid made history.'"

Since then, she's hit the ground running.

"These guys have been phenomenal," Dobner said. "They haven't batted and eye at me."

Her previous experience has no doubt helped her earn the respect of her fellow coaches.

Five years ago, Dobner's professioonal coaching career began in Oshkosh, when former Wisconsin Herd general manager Dave Dean discovered her on a scouting trip to Southern California.

"I remember watching Sidney and I was just really impressed with how she handled everything," Dean said. "She has such a great spirit and a smile on her face. She was loving every second she was out there."

Dean and Bucks GM Jon Horst invited Dobner back to Oshkosh for a coaching tryout, and the rest is history.

"She really seemed to be one of us," Dean said. "She was humble, hungry and smart."

"We identified that very early and she took full advantage of her opportunities there," he added.

A half-decade later, Dobner can't deny how big that moment was in the course of her career.

"The G-League is different. You have to be able to do everything," she said. "So being able to get thrown into the fire was a huge advantage for me."

"Each step of the way that I've gone in my entire career has prepared me for this situation," she continued. "But I'll say 'Osh Vegas' is a special place for me."

Dobner's experience in the Fox Valley made her well-rounded. That's something she keeps with her to this day.

"We're here to win a championship, and I want to win," she said. "That's what I look forward to the most."

Dobner is the 15th woman to coach in the NBA since Becky Hammon became the first in 2014. Commissioner Adam Silver has said he would like to see a woman hired as a head coach within the next five years.