Dawn Staley earns Billie Jean King Leadership Award
The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) presented South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley with the Billie Jean King Leadership Award presented by Y. Michele Kang at its Annual Salute to Women in Sports Wednesday night in New York. The award is in partnership with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and recognizes an individual or group who demonstrates outstanding leadership and makes significant contributions to the advancement of women through achievements in sport and the workplace.
For this award, the WSF highlighted Staley’s use of her platform to speak out against inequities, her advocacy for increased opportunities for women in sports and her purposeful leadership. The group lauded her for showing “leadership that goes beyond statistics and sports highlights” throughout her playing and coaching careers.
As a head coach, Staley is entering her 23rd season in 2022-23, having started her career at Temple before taking the reins at South Carolina prior to the 2008-09 season. In the last nine seasons, she has led South Carolina to a pair of National Championships, two other Final Four appearances, six SEC Regular-Season Championships and six SEC Tournament titles. The Gamecocks have been ranked in the AP Top 25 every week since Dec. 10, 2012, and have twice finished the season ranked No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll – 2020, 2022. Staley has helped the sport of women’s basketball thrive in the heart of the SEC with South Carolina leading the nation in average attendance each of the last eight seasons.
Under her watch, two Gamecocks have earned National Player of the Year honors – Aliyah Boston 2022, A’ja Wilson 2018. A total of eight Gamecocks have collected 19 All-America selections and three have been named SEC Player of the Year a combined six times. Staley is the first person in men’s or women’s basketball to be named Naismith Coach of the Year (2020, 2022) after also earning Naismith Player of the Year recognition.
Staley was named head coach of the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team in 2017, leading the U.S. through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Under her watch, the group won its seventh-straight Olympic gold medal while also picked p gold at the 2018 FIBA World Cup and the 2019 and 2021FIBA AmeriCup tournaments.