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Power Players: Dawn Staley

The hoops icon continues to impact and change the game.

Already a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a player, Dawn Staley is on a steady path that might lead to her eventually being inducted once again as a coach as well.

The former National Player of the Year as a prep standout at Philadelphia’s Dobbins Tech, Staley led the University of Virginia to three Final Fours and was named the National Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992. 

As a professional, she became one of the world’s most iconic women’s basketball players and won three Olympic Gold Medals for Team USA in 1996, 2000 and 2004. 

At the tail end of her playing career, she took over Temple University’s women’s basketball program as their head coach. She reached 100 wins faster than any coach had ever before. After eight years at Temple and seven NCAA Tournament appearances, she took over the program at the University of South Carolina.


The Gamecocks had only won a total of 20 SEC games in the five years prior her arrival, but Staley quickly established a culture of excellence that led the previously moribund program to winning the National Championship in 2017. 


In addition to leading the South Carolina program, she is now the head coach of the women’s USA National Team as well. 

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She recently sat down with The Shadow League to talk about her journey and shed some light on how a young girl from Philadelphia used her passion for basketball to accomplish things that she could have once never imagined.

Ali

Alejandro “Ali” Danois is the Editor-in-Chief of The Shadow League. His features “Humble Beginnings”, and “Rocky Flop” were mentioned in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology as among the country’s most notable stories of 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Ali is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Boys of Dunbar, A Story of Love, Hope and Basketball, and he served as a Producer on the ESPN Films 30-for-30 documentary “Baltimore Boys”.

Follow him on twitter @alidanois