Black women in coaching positions are held to higher standards — especially because there are so few opportunities.
South Carolina Women's Basketball Coach
As both a player and coach, no one has been a more consequential figure in women’s basketball than Dawn Staley. She first rose to prominence at Virginia, where, as a point guard for the Cavaliers, she won two straight Naismith awards (in 1991 and ’92) as the national player of the year. She led the U.S. to three Olympic gold medals — including in 1996, the first year that women’s basketball was part of the Games — and two FIBA world championships. She was so respected as a competitor on the international level that she was chosen to carry the America flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics. The ninth player taken in the 1999 WNBA draft, Staley enjoyed an eight-year career in the league, finally retiring in 2006. While she was still playing in the WNBA, Staley became the coach at Temple, taking over the Owls’ bench in 2000. In eight years, she led Temple to six NCAA tournament appearances, three Atlantic-10 conference championships and four conference tournament titles. In 2008, she became the coach at South Carolina, which was coming off a 16–16 season. In 2016–17, she led the Gamecocks to the first national title in school history. In 2020, Staley won the Naismith award as the national coach of the year — she is the first person to win the award as both a player and a coach. She led South Carolina to a second NCAA championship in 2021–22, and was again named national coach of the year. The Philadelphia native was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2020, she coached the U.S. team to the gold medal at the Summer Olympics.
People are mad because NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
Just like that, it was over. No tourney for us, no national championship.
"If you can bring out the best in people, then success will follow." Dawn Staley shares how she aims to motivate her team.
This isn’t just about the four years they spend with me. This is bigger than being their coach.