By Devon POV Mason | Shadow League reporter
The great Dawn Staley has always faced challenges head-on and she always seems to come up roses in her methodical approach.
Take for instance, her becoming the head coach at South Carolina in 2008, a perennial doormat in the SEC as it pertains to women’s basketball prior to her arrival.
All she’s done there is take that program to unimaginable heights winning a national championship and making three NCAA Final Four appearances.
She’s also engineered six SEC tourney titles and five regular season conference titles — just some of her steadily rising accolades.
Now tasked with the job of bringing home the gold as the head coach of Team USA women’s basketball team. Staley is focus driven and not getting distracted by her status as the first Black woman to hold the position.
“We got a job to do. It’s not about me at all.”
“I never get ahead of myself when it comes to that. I am enjoying the journey. I’m also very aware of what is happening around me.”
Staley isn’t the type to feel added pressure, she’s always been as cool as a fan since her days as the point guard for the Virginia Cavaliers.
But believe me she knows the importance of leading the team to it’s seventh consecutive gold medal.
Women’s national team director Carol Callan believes Staley was and is the right choice going forward for Team USA.
Staley has put in an awful lot of time with the squad over the years.
Aja Wilson the former South Carolina Gamecock who led Staley to her national title in Columbia and reigning WNBA MVP of the Las Vegas Aces, considers Staley a second mom.
And she says “representation matters” as it pertains to the respect Dawn Staley has among WNBA players and coaches.
“This is a personal for me because it matters. This is a first for her and she’s been a first for many things, but yes I’m gonna make sure I’m part of the team that gets it done.” Wilson said in a statement to AP.
Staley ascended to the head coach role in 2017 after being an assistant for the last two Olympic Games.
As a player she won gold medals on the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Team USA squads.
This was a no-brainer for the powers that be. “Dawn from Philly” just gets it done with style, grace, and a sprinkle of sizzle.
It’s another watershed moment for women, and Staley is part of it again.