Hall of Fame player and South Carolina Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley proved things really do come full circle by fulfilling a yearslong promise to a fellow basketball coach.
In 2015, Staley was given a piece of the net from Carolyn Peck’s historic NCAA women’s basketball championship run with the Purdue Boilermakers. In 1999, Peck became the first Black female head coach to win the NCAA title. When Peck gave a piece of the net to Staley, she mandated that the Gamecocks coach must keep the net-passing tradition going when she won a NCAA championship of her own.
Staley kept a piece of the net in her wallet as a reminder. In 2017, she won her first national title as a head coach when South Carolina beat Mississippi State.
Immediately after the win, Peck received a piece of the net from Staley.
And now, four years later, Division I Black coaches from around women’s basketball such as Wisconsin’s Marisa Moseley, Denver’s Doshia Woods and George Mason’s Vanessa Blair-Lewis have received part of Staley’s net that she promised to pass on.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes posted about how much she loved her piece of the net. Barnes and Staley made history in March when they became the first two Black head coaches to be in the NCAA women’s Final Four at the same time.
Since winning the NCAA title in 2017, Staley also won her first Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games as head coach for Team USA.
In October, South Carolina signed Staley to a seven-year, $22.4 million contract extension, making her the highest-paid Black head coach in her sport and one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in the country.
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