South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley was named the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I Region 3 Coach of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced Wednesday.
Staley and the other seven regional winners are now finalists for the inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy to be presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year, which will be announced on April 7.
Staley is the first South Carolina coach to earn the award.
Staley is leading the Gamecocks in one of the best seasons in school history as South Carolina claimed both its first SEC regular-season championship and first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed.
The team's 29 wins this season are the second more in school history, and the Gamecocks will play in their second NCAA Sweet 16 in the last three seasons.
Ranked as high as fourth in the nation this season – the highest mark since January 1982, South Carolina has enjoyed 13 weeks among the nation's top 10, including four ranked among the top five.
The eighth-ranked Gamecocks will take on No. 12/13 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Sun., Mar. 30, at 7 p.m. (ET) in Stanford, Calif., on ESPN2.
WBCA Regional Coaches of the Year
Region 1 - Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
Region 2 - Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame
Region 3 - Dawn Staley, South Carolina
Region 4, Jennifer Roos, Bowling Green State Region 5 - Kim Mulkey, Baylor Region 6 - Curt Miller, Indiana Region 7 - Ryun Williams, Colorado State Region 8 - Scott Rueck, Oregon State