Staley: "I'm staying at the University of South Carolina" - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Staley: "I'm staying at the University of South Carolina"

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Dawn Staley (Source: USC Athletics) Dawn Staley (Source: USC Athletics)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina head women's basketball coach Dawn Staley said Wednesday that she is not leaving the University of South Carolina.

"A lot of people have been talking about me going to Virginia since Debbie Ryan stepped down, and I understand that," Staley said. "It's my alma mater, where I was really shaped as a person, so it's a natural conversation to have. In the end, Virginia is going in a different direction, and I'm staying at the University of South Carolina because I truly believe we have a bright future here."

"The more I thought about it, the more I didn't want to leave because of the direction we have this program going," said Staley. "The players we have coming in next year are going to help us grow even more, and the groundwork our coaching staff is laying with future classes has been outstanding. We feel like we have a gold mine here, and I'm confident our best days at South Carolina are ahead of us."

Staley completed her third season at the helm of the Gamecock program that has made steady progress throughout her tenure. With a 42-48 record at South Carolina, she did her most masterful coaching this season under the most difficult circumstances.

As the team embraced its "We Rise" motto, the Gamecocks overcame various hardships throughout the season to turn in an 18-15 overall record and advance to the second round of the Women's NIT. South Carolina's 8-8 mark in the SEC earned it the fifth seed in the tournament, the program's highest since 2002-03.

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