Described as “MIT’s all-time winningest coach,” Sonia Raman, possibly one of very few Indian American basketball coaches at a major institution, was just appointed assistant coach to the Memphis Grizzlies, (@memgrizz) who tweeted Sept. 11, 2020 – “JUST ANNOUNCED: We’ve hired Sonia Raman as an assistant coach.”
Sonia, who is the head coach of the women’s basketball team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), becomes the fourth person of Indian-origin to work as a coach in the NBA, joining Vin Bhavnani (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Roy Rana (Sacramento Kings) and Adi Vase (Fitness coach with Golden STate Warriors).
Sonia, who coached MIT for 12 years will join head coach Taylor Jenkins’s staff on November 1. She comes in place of Niele Ivey, a former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star who left to take up head coach’s role at University of Notre Dame. Sonia is the 14th woman coach in NBA history and the seventh to join the league since 2019.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff,” she was quoted as saying by the Grizzlies in a release.
“I can’t wait to get to Memphis and get started with Taylor, his staff and the team’s emerging young core,” she said. “I must also give a truly special thank you to MIT and the women I’ve had the honour of coaching for the past 12 years. I wish the program continued success.”
Sonia has had a very successful stint at MIT as she took the team to three Division III finals and was also voted coach of the year in her region. Eighteen of her players have earned New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference accolades, including four Rookie of the Year honours.
Prior to her arrival at MIT, she was the top assistant coach at Wellesley College. During her six-year tenure, she scouted opponents, assisted with practice and game planning, managed individual player skill and leadership development, and served as the Blue’s primary recruiter.
“We are beyond excited to welcome Sonia to the Memphis Grizzlies,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins is quoted saying in the announcement posted on the NBA website. “She has a high basketball IQ and a tremendous ability to teach the game, as well as a strong passion for the game. She is going to be a great addition to our current coaching staff.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff. I can’t wait to get to Memphis and get started with Taylor, his staff and the team’s emerging young core,” Raman said. “I must also give a truly special thank you to MIT and the women I’ve had the honor of coaching for the past 12 years. I wish the program continued success.”
Sonia began her intercollegiate coaching career with a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Tufts University. A four-year player and a captain for the Tufts, she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and went on to receive a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 2001.
Sonia, who served as an ambassador in the Massachusetts area. was in September 2017 selected to serve on the Coaches Council for the Alliance of Women Coaches, which aims to empower women coaches, at all levels, by providing support, resources, events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members.