CHICAGO – She has been one the mainstays in the organization for over three decades, serving in a number of roles for the team from the Jordan years to present day.
Now Karen Umlauf will get a chance to show off her coaching skills over the next few weeks in Las Vegas.
On Tuesday, the team named their Senior Director of Baskeball Operations their associate coach for the upcoming NBA Summer League. She becomes the first woman to serve as a coach in team history, assisting head coach Randy Brown with the team’s roster of rookies and young players.
She will join the current Bulls coaching staff to prepare for the games while continuing her administrative duties.
“I know it sounds trite, but I really want to learn,” said Umlauf to Bulls.com on the move. “I’m not saying I’m looking to be the first head coach or anything like that. I feel I haven’t fully tapped into what I’m capable of yet. But I know I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization.”
A native of the South Suburbs and former standout player for Northwestern, Umlauf was hired by the late Jerry Krause 34 years ago and served a variety of roles in the organization during that time. At one point, she was in the organization with her brother Jim Stack, who was hired as a scout in the late 1980s and then was named the teams assistant vice president of basketball operations in 1996.
“We probably have waited too long to give her an opportunity like this,” said John Paxson, Bulls executive vice-president, to Bulls.com. “We all think the world of Karen. She’s a smart basketball person and this gives her an opportunity. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I talked to her a while back and said we’d like to do something along these lines. She’s a talented person, a longtime Chicago Bull.”
Now she’ll get her chance to show off her skills for the NBA world to see over the news few weeks.