Paving the way: Kristi Toliver joins Wizards coaching staff

For a while now, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks have wanted to bring a unique perspective to their team, specifically the coaching staff. As it turns out, somebody that Brooks would end up targeting for a long time was already in the same building.

On Tuesday, the Washington Wizards announced their coaching and training staff changes. Included in the announcement was that Washington Mystics All-Star guard Kristi Toliver would be joining the assistant coach/player development staff.

Toliver is the first active WNBA player to be on an NBA coaching staff. Her spot on the Wizards’ bench is historic, joining the likes of Becky Hammon and Nancy Lieberman as female coaches in the NBA. Hammon and Lieberman both played in the WNBA, but neither were active players while coaching in the NBA.

The 10-year WNBA veteran Toliver helped the Wizards at Summer League during the Mystics’ season, showing her dedication to making the most of that opportunity. As time went on, Grunfeld and Brooks decided to bring her on full time for the season.

Toliver, 31, has been working closely with the team on ball-handling, working out with players ranging from Dwight Howard to Bradley Beal. She’s also coached the Wizards during five on five on five drills, with Brooks giving her the responsibility of managing a team.