Dawn Staley

Dawn Staley has continually produced multiple first-round WNBA draft picks while simultaneously being a leader in advocating for women’s sports. Staley has an extensive history in basketball and a decorated list of accomplishments. Staley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and also inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame the following year in 2013. She has been in the headlines even more than ever this year as her South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team continues to soar above expectations.  Last year, Staley coached her Gamecocks to the 2023 Final Four for the third consecutive year. Her team also remained undefeated until the Final Four when No. 2 Iowa, led by basketball sensation Caitlin Clark, beat them 77-73 to go on to the national championship game. Coach Staley lost a big part of her team's core in the 2023 WNBA Draft — two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Aliyah Boston, Laeticia Amihere, Zia Cook, and Brea Beal. Many were claiming that South Carolina would take a step back but Staley knew otherwise. As of February 15, her team remains undefeated — the only team to remain undefeated across men’s and women’s college basketball. She is a powerful coach and woman in the game.
- Alexa Stone
FanSided Contributor

By the numbers

If you haven’t been watching Staley since she was in college and led her team at University of Virginia to three Final Fours, or when she helped lead the Charlotte Sting to the WNBA Finals in the 2001 season, or when she won three Olympic gold medals or even when she coached her Gamecocks to two National Championships — now is the time to pay attention to her game in 2024. Her team looks primed for another National Championship, with two of her players likely to be first-round picks in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Oh, and among her former players are two-time WNBA champ, two-time WNBA MVP and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year A'ja Wilson, reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Aaliyah Boston. Dawn Staley is at the center of the women's basketball universe right now.

What we’ll remember a decade from now

Staley is the definition of perseverance, hard work, and maybe most importantly swag. But what we'll remember most is mentorship and advocacy. You can catch Staley sitting courtside supporting her former players and speaking out on the most important issues in today's game at both the WNBA and NCAA levels. Coach Dawn Staley is loved across basketball from players, to fans, to fellow coaches, and most importantly, by her players.