PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the greatest basketball players ever to come out of Philadelphia was honored this week. Dawn Staley was named the Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year after leading South Carolina to a 32-1 record this season.
She spoke to Eyewitness News virtually about making history.
Staley is the only person to ever be named Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.
“I mean, it’s pretty cool and when you get honored like this, you kinda reflect on, who are the people around you that lifted you up to get to this position. And I can honestly say I picked some great ones,” Staley said. “I certainly would like to thank our coaching staff, our players, our support staff. I mean, really, it takes a village to be recognized in this way.”
Part of that village was built right here in Philadelphia, which she says pushed her to become one of the greats.
“Philly is my foundation. Philly has allowed me to be successful on this level because success just doesn’t happen without some of the adversity, some of the things you have to persevere, some of the narratives that you have to navigate through. Philly prepared me to have the armor that I need to navigate through that,” Staley said.
As the sports world adapts to a new normal, Staley believes every moment is a teachable moment.
“I just got off a Zoom with our entire program — our players, our staff — and we’re talking about championship behavior. When we have these sessions, I want you upright. Let’s sit up,” she said.
What fuels Staley’s success? Crepes, apparently! Every time she gets back to Philly, one of her first stops is a French restaurant in Queen Village.
So that’s the secret – crepes!
Staley’s Gamecocks did not get an opportunity for another national championship this season, but she’s hopeful that when it’s safe to do so, the South Carolina fans will come back to support one of the top programs in all of college hoops.