Monday, May 27, 2024

Looking at Dawn Staley’s championships with South Carolina and Team USA

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Dawn Staley just earned more hardware for her crowded trophy room.

Staley’s South Carolina squad beat Iowa 87-75 in Sunday’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament national championship game. The Gamecocks entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and completed an undefeated season to win another national title.

Staley is in her fourth decade of basketball dominance on the national stage. The 53-year-old built a Hall of Fame career as a player in college, the WNBA and with Team USA and has kept her winning ways going as a head coach.

With more than 30 years of experience in the spotlight, just how many championships has Staley won? Here’s a look at her excellence at each stage of her illustrious career:

How many NCAA championships does Dawn Staley have as a coach?

Staley has three national titles with the Gamecocks since taking over as head coach in 2008.

With Staley on the sidelines and A’ja Wilson on the court, South Carolina won its first national championship in program history in 2017. In 2022, Staley, Aliyah Boston and Co. secured the school its second national title with a 64-49 championship victory over UConn. She added to her total when South Carolina took down Caitlin Clark and Iowa to earn the 2024 title.

While three championships in seven tournaments is impressive, the number of championships could be even higher for the Gamecocks. South Carolina was ranked No. 1 during the 2019-20 season, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled that March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2021, South Carolina came close to another championship, falling to Stanford, the eventual champion, in the Final Four. Staley’s team bounced back in 2022 and completed its “unfinished business.”

The 2023-24 season featured a similar revenge tour for South Carolina. The team suffered its first and only loss of the 2022-23 campaign against Clark and Iowa in the Final Four, only to avenge that defeat in the 2024 title game.

On top of three national titles, Staley has been named the Naismith College Coach of the Year four times over the last five seasons.

How many NCAA championships did Dawn Staley win as a player in college?

Staley never won a national championship as a player at Virginia, but she came close. The Cavaliers reached three Final Fours and one national title game during Staley’s tenure from 1988-89 to 1991-92. In the 1991 championship game, Virginia lost to Tennessee 70-67 in overtime. 

Staley still picked up serious hardware during her time at Virginia. She earned two Naismith Trophies, two ACC Player of the Year Awards and ACC Rookie of the Year. Additionally, she was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1991.

How many WNBA Finals did Dawn Staley win as a player?

Staley reached one WNBA Championship during her eight-year career. That appearance came with the Charlotte Sting, the team that drafted her, in 2001, but her team fell to the Los Angeles Sparks in two games.

Even without a championship, Staley earned five All-Star nods. Four of those came with Charlotte, while the last came in her final WNBA season with the Houston Comets.

How many Olympic medals did Dawn Staley win as a player?

Staley made three Olympic appearances with Team USA and came away with three gold medals. The team went undefeated in all three tournaments, dominating on its way to gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games, 2000 Sydney Games and 2004 Athens Games. Staley was a flag bearer for the U.S. at the 2004 Opening Ceremony and was named 2004 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year.

Along with three Olympic golds, Staley earned two golds and a bronze with Team USA across three FIBA Women’s World Championships.

How many Olympic medals does Dawn Staley have as a coach?

Staley was named the Team USA head coach for 2017-20 in March 2017. Though the Tokyo Olympics were postponed from 2020 to 2021, she was at the helm when the U.S. won its seventh straight gold medal

Her stint as Team USA’s head coach ended with the Tokyo Games. Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve was named Staley’s successor in December 2021, giving Staley more time to concentrate on championships at South Carolina.

Here are five things to know about South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was first published in April 2022.

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