Tamara Moore's basketball career hit a new high note Saturday as she was named the head coach of the Mesabi Range College men's basketball team, with the northern Minnesota school announcing that Moore is the first woman to be named head coach of a men's college basketball team at any level.
The barrier-breaking move was made on Moore's 40th birthday, no less.
Moore starred at Minneapolis North in high school, being named Minnesota's Miss Basketball winner in 1998. She was part of a Minneapolis North team that went 29-0 and won a state championship.
She told Twist Sports Talk in March that she went to high school with ex-Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson's mother. Johnson, who was a multi-sport start at North, is expected to be selected in the April 23-25 NFL Draft.
She played in college at Wisconsin, where she was the 2001 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time First-team All-Big Ten selection. She was also a two-time Honorable Mention All-American selection. Moore was inducted into the university's athletics hall of fame in 2017.
Moore played six full seasons in the WNBA, including starting 20 of 26 games as a rookie for the Minnesota Lynx in 2002. She was drafted 15th overall by the Miami Sol. In 2006, she played for the Los Angeles Sparks, a team coached at the time by Kobe Bryant's father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant.
Moore is also involved in the Global Mixed Gender Basketball League, which features men and women playing on the same court. The league's president is rapper Master P, whose son, Hercy Miller, is a standout basketball player at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.
Despite multiple women working as assistant coaches in the NBA, college basketball remains far behind in gender equality in the coaching ranks. As of May 2019, according to Think Progress, Edniesha Curry at the University of Maine was the only woman working as an assistant coach in all of Division I men's college basketball.
The first woman hired as an assistant coach at the Division I level was Bernadette Mattox in 1990, who was hired by Rick Pitino at Kentucky. Rick Pitino is the father of University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Richard Pitino.
Mesabi Range, located in Virginia, Minnesota, competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association.