When it comes to women’s basketball, there are certain players whose names are synonymous with the game. There are players who had illustrious careers and now are hailed as legends. It is players like Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoops and others that made names for themselves as we watched them play throughout their careers. But there is one player who continues to strive for excellence and accolades, even after her playing career. That player is none other than South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.
Dawn Staley is a WNBA legend with several impressive accolades. Her passion and knowledge for the game brought her great success in her playing career, and it has carried over into her coaching career. And she will not be slowing down anytime soon. And as she celebrated her 52nd birthday on Wednesday, let us take a moment to highlight some of her most impressive accolades.
1.) She is a 6-time WNBA All-Star
Staley started her WNBA career in 1999. She was the ninth pick of that year’s draft, spending time in the American Basketball League. She was drafted by the Charlotte Sting and remained with the team until 2005 when the Sting traded her to the Houston Comets. But from 2001 to 2006 she was an all-star. And with the exception of the 2001 WNBA All-Star game, Staley started in each of her all-star appearances.
2.) She is a 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist
Staley was a member of the USA Basketball team and represented the U.S three times in the Olympic games. She was a member of the 1996 team, the 2000 team and the 2004 team.
Team USA won gold each time and recently, they won another gold medal at the 2020 Olympics. But this time, Staley was the coach.
Team USA continues to succeed, and with Staley running the show, they are bound to keep the legacy alive.
3.) Staley is a 2-time Naismith Coach of the Year
Staley’s coaching career began in 2000. She had little interest in becoming a coach but was eventually talked into it by Temple athletic director Dave O’ Brien.
She coached Temple from 2000 to 2008 while balancing her career as a player. She left Temple and became South Carolina’s head coach shortly after. And she has remained their coach ever since.
Staley was named Naismith Coach of the Year in 2020 and 2022. South Carolina went 32-1 during 2020, and this year, they went 35-2. The Gamecocks were the best team in 2020, but the pandemic kept them from going for a championship. Regardless, Staley added an accolade under her belt.
4.) She is a Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame features some of the biggest names of basketball. Great likes Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and more are inductees, and in 2013, Staley joined the ranks of other greats.
The 2013 Hall of Fame class featured Staley, Gary Payton, Rick Pitino, Bernard King and more. Her induction was a testament to her career, and like for so many others, it was well-deserved.
5.) Staley is a 2-time NCAA Women’s Tournament Champion
During her coaching career, Staley has helped her team win championships. She led the Gamecocks to championships in 2017 and 2022. South Carolina beat Mississippi State 67-55 in 2017 to win it all. Then, they beat the UConn Huskies 64-49 to win this year’s championship. It was a huge win, and it showed how talented Staley’s team is.
Dawn Staley has done a lot in her career, and as she continues to coach, the more accolades she’ll get.