LOS ANGELES, CA (October 4, 2022) – Dawn Staley will receive the John R. Wooden Award “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2023. Coach Wooden’s grandson-in-law Craig Impelman and 2021 recipient Dave Yanai were proud to announce her selection at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s annual Wooden Award Tip-Off Luncheon. The event featured the head coaches from the Division I men’s basketball programs in Southern California. The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity.
The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. She will be presented the honor along with the 2023 Wooden Award winners on April 7, 2023.
Coach Staley, a native of Philadelphia, PA, began her coaching career at Temple University, where she led the Owls to six NCAA tournament appearances in her eight years at the helm. She has guided the University of South Carolina to incredible heights in her 14 years of coaching there. She has led the Gamecocks to two National Championships (2017 & 2022), four Final Four appearances, six SEC regular season championships, six SEC tournament championships and has coached two John R. Wooden Award winners (A’ja Wilson in 2018 & Aliyah Boston in 2022). She has also won three Olympic gold medals as a coach for the USA Women’s Basketball team, two as an assistant coach (2008 & 2016) and one as the head coach (2020).
Staley’s exploits also carry over to her incredible on-court career. A two-time National Player of the Year at the University of Virginia, she led the Cavaliers to three Final Fours and was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1991 tournament. A six-time WNBA All Star, in 2011 she was named to the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All-Time, honoring the top players in the league’s first 15 years. On the international stage, Staley won three Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000 & 2004). In recognition of her great playing career, she was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Off the court, Coach Staley has been a beacon in her community. She is the co-founder of INNERSOLE, which aims to provide new sneakers to homeless children and children in need. After her playing career, the WNBA created the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, which is given annually to a player that exemplifies leadership characteristics in the community she lives or works.