How USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb balances household and basketball

A 3-month-old child sleeps peacefully in an virtually silent room within the tunnels of CU Events Center. While music thumps on the court docket, the place USC and Colorado are warming up for a crucial recreation within the Pac-12 convention race, the one sound in a room usually supposed for movie research is the rhythmic suction of a breast pump.

Lindsay Gottlieb scrolls by means of her telephone whereas her breast milk drips into small clear bottles.

“It would be nice to get this one on the road,” the USC head coach says, the anxiousness creeping into her voice.

Lindsay Gottlieb talks to her players before a game against Colorado.

From high, USC ladies’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb pushes her daughter Reese down a resort hallway earlier than a recreation in opposition to Colorado on Jan. 29. Gottlieb talks to her gamers earlier than a recreation in opposition to Colorado.

While placing USC in place for its first NCAA event look since 2014, the 45-year-old Gottlieb can also be adjusting to life as a mom of two. The second-year head coach gave beginning to daughter Reese on Oct. 15, was again on the sideline for USC’s season opener 24 days in a while Nov. 8 and lifted the Trojans into the Associated Press high 25 for the primary time since 2016 on Feb. 13.

It’s been, Gottlieb mentioned, a once-in-a-lifetime season.

The household journey will proceed in Las Vegas, the place Gottlieb will take Reese for the Pac-12 ladies’s basketball event. With its greatest convention file in additional than a decade, USC (21-8, 11-7 Pac-12) is the No. 6 seed going through No. 11 Oregon State at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Michelob Ultra Arena.

Five years after having her first baby, Gottlieb has observed the elevated dialog and understanding surrounding working moms in sports activities.

Arizona head coach Adia Barnes was the topic of a viral ESPN sideline report after she pumped breast milk throughout halftime of the nationwide championship recreation in 2021. In the WNBA’s 2020 collective bargaining settlement that elevated salaries to an all-time excessive, it was the expanded maternity and household planning advantages that had many out and in of the league most impressed.

It’s an indication that mixing household and training is “more normalized,” Gottlieb mentioned, however when she spoke to different moms final summer season, quietly voicing her plan to return in time for the start of her second season with the Trojans, she acquired cautious encouragement. There shall be loads of seasons, she was reminded. She had just one likelihood to lift Reese.

But to her, this season, when USC welcomed seven new transfers, additionally deserved ample focus. To strike the stability, Gottlieb’s high aim is to easily be current, whether or not on the baseline at follow or whereas getting her children prepared for mattress at house.

Sitting within the nook of her lounge, Gottlieb feeds Reese on a current weekday morning. They’re bathed in mushy morning gentle filtering by means of floor-to-ceiling home windows overlooking a manicured yard. Gottlieb’s five-year-old son Jordan eats a lightweight breakfast of bacon, fruit and eggs at a small desk close by and watches “Pinocchio” earlier than going to kindergarten.

The picturesque begin to the morning is the results of a choreographed dance of assist.

The household lives with an au pair who helps get Jordan prepared for college within the mornings and picks him up from college. Gottlieb’s husband Patrick Martin works from house as a finance entrepreneur, offering distant work flexibility. A doula helped Gottlieb by means of her beginning and accompanied Reese throughout highway journeys for her first 4 months.

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Gottlieb is aware of her delicate balancing act isn’t an simply attainable blueprint for each mom. She acknowledges her luck to work in a job that, whereas consuming and difficult in its personal manner, has versatile hours, pays sufficient to afford childcare and permits her youngsters to hitch her within the area, at follow or on the highway.

“To be able to do both at the prime of my life, it’s something that I don’t take for granted,” Gottlieb mentioned. “It’s also because I have incredible people around me allowing me to do it.”

USC women's basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb meets with her staff at halftime.
Lindsay Gottlieb with husband Patrick Martin, spend time with daughter Reese, in the arms of doula Ofelia Aragon.

From high, USC ladies’s basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, second from left, meets along with her workers at halftime throughout a house recreation in opposition to California on Jan. 13. Gottlieb, left, with husband Patrick Martin, proper, spend time with daughter Reese, middle, within the arms of doula Ofelia Aragon on Jan. 13.

While interviewing for the USC job in 2021, Gottlieb, who spent the earlier two seasons as an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers, made it clear to USC athletic director Mike Bohn she wished alternatives to combine her household into work. She wasn’t pregnant on the time, however she and Martin had hopes of increasing their household.

Touting the ability of the “Trojan Family,” Bohn had no reservations about welcoming Gottlieb’s rising household. At Cincinnati, he labored with volleyball coach Molly Alvey, whose two youngsters have been additionally born near the start of the Bearcats’ seasons.

“It comes down to trying to make sure that our coach has support, has the encouragement from the administration that hey, everything’s going to be great,” Bohn mentioned. “Having children around our elite athletes and around our institution as a whole is a great blessing.”

For somebody who half-jokingly mentioned she as soon as had plans to have 5 children earlier than 30 years outdated, USC assistant Nneka Enemkpali sought affirmation that being a mom and a coach was doable by selecting to work on staffs with moms. After beginning as a video assistant at Gonzaga, the place head coach and mom of three Lisa Fortier led the Bulldogs to seven 20-win seasons in her first eight years, the three-time All-Big 12 choice from Texas is in her second yr at USC with Gottlieb.

“It can seem very unattainable because of the level of time that we put into watching film and we travel all the time,” Enemkpali mentioned. “A lot of our time is dedicated to our young women, which, is the job that we chose, the job that we signed up for, but to be able to watch her do it and do it at such a high level, it makes it feel a lot less out of reach.”

Lindsay Gottlieb gets ready to take her son Jordan to school as he plays with his cousin Jack.
Lindsay Gottlieb heads downstairs during team practice to pump breastmilk in her office.

From high, Lindsay Gottlieb will get able to take her son Jordan to highschool as he performs together with his cousin, Jack. Gottlieb heads downstairs throughout a crew follow to pump breastmilk in her workplace.

Gottlieb, the youngest of 4 youngsters, felt empowered by her dad and mom to pursue any profession. She watched her mom function a stay-at-home mother for 10 years after Gottlieb was born, then make a profession as a stockbroker. Her father was a lawyer. They particularly targeted on exhibiting their three daughters that there was nothing they couldn’t do due to their gender.

Gottlieb hopes to do the identical for Reese.

“I want her to be in a situation,” Gottlieb mentioned whereas holding Reese in her arms, “where she’s able to make whatever choices she wants and it doesn’t hurt her ability to be successful, either as a mother or as a working person, whatever career that she chooses.”

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Success is all Gottlieb is aware of in her teaching profession. After main California to seven NCAA event appearances in eight seasons, together with a Final Four berth in her second yr, she joined the Cavaliers workers and have become the seventh feminine assistant coach in NBA historical past in 2019.

So the truth that the Trojans are a projected No. 8 seed within the NCAA event by ESPN doesn’t shock Gottlieb, whilst she’s tending to her rising household.

“We’ve put ourselves so far in position [for the NCAA tournament] and that was always the goal,” Gottlieb mentioned. “Just because I’m having a kid, I’m not going to take any of our sights off the goal.”

On a current weekday morning at 7 a.m. whereas Reese slept upstairs and Jordan confirmed a customer round, Gottlieb already had recreation movie loaded up on her laptop computer arrange within the kitchen. While she spends much less time within the workplace now, she makes essentially the most of each minute.

Gottlieb feeds Reese within the morning, drops Jordan off in school, packs for an upcoming highway journey, holds Zoom conferences along with her workers and even squeezes in a brief Peloton exercise all earlier than the crew’s 1 p.m. follow. It’s common for her to slot in a number of calls on her drive.

The USC women's basketball team warms up before their game against the Colorado Buffaloes.
Lindsay Gottlieb squeezes in a short Peloton ride at home before heading to practice.

From high, USC’s ladies’s basketball crew warms up earlier than a recreation in opposition to Colorado on Jan. 29. Lindsay Gottlieb squeezes in a brief Peloton journey at house earlier than heading to follow.

“It’s remarkable to see what the female body can go through but also how we can continue to adapt,” Enemkpali mentioned. “She just continues to empower us as coaches to help lead and put our players in position to be successful. But at the helm of it herself, she just continues to do remarkable things as a mom.”

After Gottlieb gave beginning to Jordan in May 2017, he was sufficiently old to hitch her at work when the season began. Jordan got here to campus virtually on daily basis, taking naps and enjoying within the coaches workplaces. He was a fixture at practices and even took his first steps in entrance of the crew as he adopted the gamers out onto the court docket someday.

But the timing was trickier for Reese.

After saying in April to her gamers that she was anticipating, Gottlieb executed an in depth plan to maintain the Trojans on monitor and decrease time she would spend away from the infant who would have been too younger to repeat Jordan’s day by day commutes to the workplace.

The workers re-arranged the preseason coaching schedule to put in performs through the summer season earlier than Gottlieb left. Gottlieb coached till the ultimate weeks earlier than her due date, typically sitting on an train ball within the gymnasium because the crew went by means of drills. When she was out, affiliate head coach Beth Burns stepped into the pinnacle teaching position, and director of participant personnel Courtney Jaco served as a further assistant.

Staff communication by means of Zoom conferences, textual content messages or emails substitute for in-person talks, permitting Gottlieb to overlook only one feeding on days when she goes into the workplace.

One yr into her USC tenure, Gottlieb felt she had already built-in Jordan into her work. He was at an age the place he may simply come to video games or go to the workplace after college. Adding Reese to the combo pressured the household to discover a entire new routine.

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Jordan, an outgoing kindergartner who’s already engaged on dribbling a basketball between his legs and draining long-distance photographs on the household’s Pop-A-Shot recreation within the storage, had basketball video games and a whale watching journey deliberate at house through the weekend Gottlieb took Reese to Utah and Colorado. He referred to as on FaceTime to say hey to his sister and inform Gottlieb in regards to the 17 dolphins they noticed.

She would have hated the bumpy journey on the boat, however feels a tinge of guilt for not all the time being there.

Gottlieb's husband Patrick Martin looks over their children Jordan, left, and Reese at home.
USC women's basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb runs practice with her team.

From high, Lindsay Gottlieb’s husband, Patrick Martin appears to be like over their youngsters Jordan, left, and Reese at house. Gottlieb runs follow along with her crew.

“I made the decision not to be the mom that has a 9-to-5 where you’re at every activity on the weekends,” Gottlieb mentioned, “but he gets to come with me a lot and he gets to do some cool things.”

Jordan nonetheless talks fondly of turning into greatest associates with former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana’s daughters, who lived subsequent door to Gottlieb in Cleveland, and loves sampling room service when on the highway. Jordan can convey his associates to his mother’s video games, and after massive video games like USC’s upset over then-No. 2 Stanford on Jan. 15 when the Trojans beat the Cardinal for the primary time since 2014, Jordan will get to leap into his mother’s arms in a celebration that makes up for some other misplaced moments.

“The emotions of a game, whatever they are, and they’re real and intense, it pales in comparison to seeing your kid,” Gottlieb mentioned. “It’s just so grounding in that sense of as important as the games are to us, they’re not the be-all, end-all.”

In her time with the Cavaliers, Gottlieb discovered that sitting round all recreation day and specializing in it for hours earlier than tipoff supplied diminishing returns over the course of an 82-game season.

Instead, Gottlieb says, evidently effectively focusing her psychological vitality on a pregame routine that features pumping breast milk in between addressing her gamers and finalizing the sport plan has introduced out the very best in her. She trusts her assistants and gamers and enjoys the quiet moments she will get to herself whereas feeding Reese.

USC women's basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb pumps breastmilk in her office during a team practice.
USC women's basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb watches film with her team.

From high, Lindsay Gottlieb pumps breastmilk in her workplace throughout a crew follow. Gottlieb watches movie along with her gamers.

Gottlieb was pumping breast milk after feeding Reese a last time earlier than tipoff. The child slept in a sling wrapped across the doula’s torso.

Ofelia Aragon is “the baby whisperer.”

The doula packed Reese’s baggage for the highway journey to Utah and Colorado, making certain that whereas the Trojans play two top-25 groups in some of the tough highway journeys within the Pac-12, Reese can have bottles, toys and blankets on the prepared. She arrange Reese’s altering station on the desk of a resort room and hung the infant’s favourite toy overhead by attaching it to a lamp.

Aragon, who stays along with her purchasers for as much as 4 months after beginning earlier than serving to every household discover one other full-time nanny, bounced Reese on her lap whereas Gottlieb coached on the sideline.

Gottlieb needed to cease in search of Reese behind the bench through the recreation. USC outlasted the then-No. 25 Buffaloes to keep away from getting swept on the highway and comfortably keep within the top-half of the Pac-12 after being picked to complete ninth within the preseason. Gottlieb subtly pumped her fist on the last horn.

In the locker room, tears welled in her eyes as she addressed her crew. She joked that she used to have the ability to blame her feelings on being pregnant, however no, she’s all the time been a crier.

The psychological stress has been at an all-time excessive for her. The Trojans had seven of their first 9 video games after Christmas on the highway. Road video games take loads out of her, Gottlieb instructed her gamers. But with a 6-3 file through the tough stretch, the Trojans had cause to have a good time.

Gottlieb praised the person performances of her stars, celebrated the crew’s defensive effort and reminded her gamers that their journey wasn’t accomplished. To the joyful screams of her gamers, Gottlieb broke out the Griddy dance. Then she walked down the corridor, opened the door to a quiet room and broke right into a smile when she noticed Reese.

“You’re our good luck charm,” Gottlieb whispered because the child ate.

Lindsay Gottlieb celebrates with her team after they won their game against the Colorado Buffaloes
Lindsay Gottlieb kisses her daughter Reese moments after her team won their game against the Colorado Buffaloes.