- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - FOX Sports Southeast has promoted Stephanie Ready to NBA game analyst covering the Charlotte Hornets.

Ready is entering her 12th season with Hornets telecasts, previously working as the host of “Hornets LIVE!” and as a sideline reporter.

She was an assistant coach in the NBA D-League, making her the first woman to coach a men’s professional sports team. She also two spent seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program at Coppin State, the first female to hold the position of full-time recruiting assistant on an NCAA Division I men’s basketball staff.

“I am so excited because this is why I got into sports broadcasting,” Ready said. “Years ago I envisioned myself being a game analyst - and not necessarily with the NBA. But once I started working with the NBA team in Charlotte in 2004 that really became my focus.”

Ready will join new play-by-play announcer Eric Collins and returning game analyst Dell Curry as part of a three-person crew.

Hornets president and COO Fred Whitfield said Ready impressed everyone involved when she filled in for Curry in the past as a game analyst on Hornets games.

Whitfield said the hire didn’t have anything to do with Ready’s gender, but rather was a reflection of her knowledge, experience and talent.

“She has sort of been a trailblazer throughout her career, but what was most attractive to us was the fact that she’s a former player and a former coach,” Whitfield said. “We thought she could bring a different perspective being a former D-League coach. We thought it would give our fans a little more in-depth look and understanding of what is happening as the game progresses.”

Said Ready: “It’s special because I feel like both the Hornets organization and Fox Sports have put the stereotypical gender issues aside. Fox has always been innovative with sports broadcasting. So the idea that both of those entities together thought that this was a good idea, and thought this would work, was just beyond flattering.”

Collins joins the crew after working with FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 as a play-by-play announcer for Big East college basketball, college football and Major League Baseball. He has called games for ESPN, NBC Sports ABC Sports and the Big Ten Network.

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