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Dawn Michelle Staley (born May 4, 1970 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American basketball player and coach. Staley is a three-time Olympian and was elected to carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics. She was named the University of South Carolina women's head basketball coach on May 7, 2008.

Playing career[]

High school years[]

Staley was named the national high school player of the year during her final season at Dobbins Tech High School in Philadelphia.

College years[]

Staley attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. During her four seasons in college, she led her team to four NCAA Tournaments, three Final Fours and one National Championship game. She was named the ACC female athlete of the year and the national player of the year in 1991 and 1992. Staley finished her college career with 2,135 points and holds the NCAA record for career steals with 454. She finished her career at Virginia as the school's all-time scoring leader and as the ACC's all-time leader in assists at 729, but those records have since been broken by former UVA stars Monica Wright and Sharnee Zoll, respectively. Her number 24 is retired at UVA. Staley competed with USA Basketball as a member of the 1992 Jones Cup Team that won the Gold in Taipei.[1]

In 1994-5, after graduation, Staley played professional basketball in France, Tarbes, Italy, Brazil, and Spain before joining the ABL and then the WNBA.


In 1996, she joined the Richmond Rage of the American Basketball League (ABL) and led the team to the ABL finals in 1997. The following season, the team moved to Staley's hometown of Philadelphia.


In the 1999 WNBA Draft, Staley was selected with the ninth overall pick by the Charlotte Sting. In 2001, she led the Sting to the Championship game of the WNBA playoffs.

On August 1, 2005, Staley was traded to the Houston Comets. Staley announced before the start of the WNBA season that she would be retiring after the Comets season was over. The Comets made the playoffs and faced the Sacramento Monarchs in the first round. The Monarchs swept the Comets and won the series 2-0, ending Staley's career.

Team USA[]

Staley played for Team USA throughout her career. In 1994 she competed in the World Championships and was named the USA basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She led the 1996 team to an undefeated record of 60-0 and the gold medal at the Olympic games in Atlanta. She was also a member of the 2000 Olympic team that defended the gold medal.

She won a third gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Her Olympic performance lead to her being named 2004 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year at the end of the year. Before the Games, she was selected to carry the flag of the United States during the parade of nations at the opening ceremony.

Coaching career[]

After the 1999-2000 college basketball season, Temple University named Staley the head coach of its women's basketball program. In her first season, 2000–01, Temple University advanced to the WNIT. In 2001, 2002, and 2004, her teams won the Atlantic 10 tournament to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

In 2004-05 season, Staley's Owls went 28-4 on the year, including a perfect 19-0 against Atlantic 10 opponents. However, they lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Rutgers. Staley reached the 100 win plateau in the A-10 Semifinals vs Xavier that season, becoming the fastest coach in women's basketball to achieve that.

On May 7, 2008, it was confirmed by Temple University that Staley would leave Temple for the recently vacated coaching position at the University of South Carolina. She left Temple with the best overall record of 172-80, along with six NCAA appearances and four Atlantic 10 titles.

During the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Staley served as an assistant coach under Team USA head coach Anne Donovan and helped the Americans win their fourth straight gold medal in women's basketball and sixth in their past seven Olympic appearances.

Head coaching record[]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Temple (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2000–2008)
2000–2001 Temple 19–11 11–5 3rd WNIT 1st Round
2001–2002 Temple 20–11 12–4 T–1st (East) NCAA 1st Round
2002–2003 Temple 14–15 9–7 2nd (East)
2003–2004 Temple 21–10 14–2 1st (East) NCAA 1st Round
2004–2005 Temple 28–4 16–0 1st (East) NCAA 2nd Round
2005–2006 Temple 24–8 12–4 3rd NCAA 1st Round
2006–2007 Temple 25–8 13–1 2nd NCAA 2nd Round
2007-2008 Temple 21–13 12–2 T–1st NCAA 1st Round
Temple: 172–80 99–25
South Carolina (Southeastern Conference) (2008–present)
2008–2009 South Carolina 10–18 2–12 11th
2009–2010 South Carolina 14–15 7–9 T–7th
2010–2011 South Carolina 18–15 8–8 T–5th WNIT 2nd Round
South Carolina: 42–48 17–29
Total: 214–126

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion

Personal life[]

Staley now heads the Dawn Staley Foundation, which gives middle-school children a positive influence in their lives by sponsoring an after-school program at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center. The Center focuses on academics and athletics and sponsors basketball leagues and other fund-raising activities. She is also currently writing a four-book series loosely based on her childhood.

  • Gave her 1996 Olympic gold medal to her mother, Estelle, whom she cites as the biggest influence in her life.
  • In 1996, she appeared in an episode of Martin (TV series), along with other members of the 1996 USA Basketball Women's Team: Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoopes, and Teresa Edwards.
  • July 24, 2004 was proclaimed Dawn Staley Day in Charlotte by Mayor Pat McCrory.

In 2006, Staley and other individuals became prominent investors in a Foxwoods slots casino proposed for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] In September 2008, facing massive opposition at the originally proposed waterfront location, backers for the slots casino decided to try and seek a new location in the Center City area, next to Philadelphia's Chinatown community.[3] As of January, 2009, the casino still does not have a building permit.

See also[]


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