Dawn Staley was a point guard who played college ball at the University of Virginia, where she was the Naismith College Player of the Year in both 1991 and 1992, and won the Honda-Broderick Award in 1991 as the top female collegiate athlete in all sports. She won three gold medals with the US at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games. She also won a gold medal at the 1991 Universiade.
Staley was selected in the first round of the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Charlotte Sting, after she had already played a few years with the Richmond / Philadelphia Rage of the ABL. She played for the Sting through 2005, then joined the Houston Comets for one final year. She was twice an ABL All-Star, in 1997-98, and six times a WNBA All-Star, consecutively from 2001-06.
Staley went into coaching even while she was still playing. She coached Temple University from 2000-08, and was then named head coach at the University of South Carolina. She led the Gamecocks to the NCAA title in 2017 and 2022 and has won multiple SEC titles, both regular season and in the SEC tournament. She has also coached USA teams in international tournaments, quiet successfully, winning gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2014 U-18 Americas Championships, the 2015 U-19 World Championships, and the 2018 World Cup. In 2017 she was named head coach of the USA National Team and coached the women at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the World Championships. Staley is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.