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‘Uncommon Favor’ — How Coach Dawn Staley Exemplifies Faith at Work

Is South Carolina Gamecock coach Dawn Staley the GOAT of women’s basketball?

Maybe. But it’s not a conversation she wants to have.

As a coach and a person of faith, however, Staley isn’t shy about speaking of how God is the ultimate GOAT in her life. In fact, this past Sunday she used her sport’s biggest stage to acknowledge the uncommon favor she has experienced by virtue of that belief.

From a sports perspective, it is unquestionable that the case for Staley being one of the most important figures in the history of women’s basketball is certainly stronger after she led South Carolina to a perfect season and national championship. The victory was even sweeter as it served ultimate act of redemption — a win against the team (Iowa) that ended their undefeated campaign last year.

Yet winning isn’t new to Staley.

The Philadelphia native and national high school player of the year started her lifetime of hoops success at the University of Virginia, where she was NCAA women’s basketball’s two-time player-of-the-year and led her team to three Final Fours and a national title game. She experienced gold medal runs as an Olympic player and coach. She had successful ABL and WNBA careers and has had massive success as both a coach of the Temple Owls and now, the once-again champion South Carolina Gamecocks.

If that’s not enough, Staley is the only individual to win the Naismith Award as both a player and a coach. She is the first Black coach to win three Division I national championships.

Bottom line: Staley is a career-long testament to the established excellence and fast-rising popularity of of women’s basketball. Check that, women’s sports. Period.

With all of that in mind, after South Carolina’s emotional victory against future WNBA number one draft pick Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes, I wasn’t thinking about what Staley achieved as a competitor on a national stage.

What struck me the most is what she said on that stage, particularly as a leader who isn’t shy about expressing her religious and spiritual identity.

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FM Editors
FM Editors
Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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