Staley named USA National Basketball Coach of the Year

Staley named USA National Basketball Coach of the Year
FILE - In this Sunday Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, United States coach Dawn Staley gives instructions to her players during the Women's basketball World Cup final match against Australia Tenerife, Spain. Staley began fall practice Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, hoping her experience leading the world’s best players to a FIBA World Cup crown can help mold the young Gamecocks into a championship group. (AP Photo/Andres Gutierrez, FIle) (Andres Gutierrez)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Accolades are nothing new for Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer has several gold medals from her playing and coaching career along with countless awards for what she’s done on the court.

On Friday, Staley adds another honor to her collection. The leader of the USA Women’s National Basketball Team was named USA Basketball National Coach of the Year after going 6-0 in the 2018 FIBA World Cup back in September.

By doing that, Staley becomes the first person in women’s FIBA World Cup history to win a gold medal as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.

"What makes Dawn such a great coach is the fact that she's been in our shoes before," said USA forward Elena Delle Donne. "She knows never to get too caught up in the highs and lows of a game and is always steady in her approach. She is also open to collaboration and listens to her players and staff. It was a pleasure playing for Dawn."

For Staley, the award is humbling, but it’s something she prefers not to take credit for by herself.

“The honor is great, but I played a small role in that. It was the assistant coaches and the scout coaches and the video people that prepped us,” Staley said. “They did a great job at scouting. They did a great job at preparing our basketball team and, unfortunately, I’m the one that gets the naming on that particular hardware. But, surely, I count my blessings in knowing that I was surrounded by some great people that made me look good, made us look good and we brought back the gold medal.”

Staley and the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks are preparing for a Top 25 showdown with No. 4 Baylor at Colonial Life Arena on Sunday. The game takes place at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.

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