Getting to know South Carolina Women's Basketball Coach, Dawn Staley

Dawn Staley did not just become a star. She has always been one, even back to her playing days at the University of Virginia and in the WNBA. In this article, I go into the progress Staley has made both on and off the court throughout her multiple stops as a coach and player.
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Practice
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Practice / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

In the past few days, the nation has become more familiar with Dawn Staley after making the NCAA championship game led by Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Clark’s comments in the media about not needing to win a national championship to be considered the greatest player of all-time.

Well, all Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks did was shut Clark and the Hawkeyes down to win their second national championship on Sunday on four years.

This was not the beginning for Staley though who has been having success all the way back to her playing days at the University of Virginia.


Staley has led the Gamecocks to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in a row, including four final fours in a row, and two national championships in the last four years as mentioned above.

So although they have been in the national spotlight in the last few days, Staley and the Gamecocks have been grinding atop the SEC and country for awhile now as a modern day version of the Pat Summitt-led Tennessee Volunteers from the 1980’s through the first decade of the 2000’s.

Dawn Staley was winning before South Carolina

During her time as head coach of the Temple Owls where she was for eight years, Staley led the Owls to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in her last seven seasons with the school, which propelled her to the job in Columbia as head coach of the Gamecocks.

Since Staley’s departure in 2008 , the Owls have only made the NCAA Tournament four times, with the last being in 2017.

Dawn Staley's Historic Rise as a College and Professional Basketball Player is where it all Started

16.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Those were Staley’s numbers as a point guard over four years at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she started for four seasons.

From there, Staley went on to an eight-year career in the WNBA where she with a five time All-Star.

Sure we can look back now and say we should have known at the time that Staley was destined for greatness and the odds were with her, but regardless it is nice to look at the progress of Staley over the years, including turning around two college programs in the process.