Chat with Dawn Staley
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, South Carolina women's basketball coach and one of the best women's basketball players to ever play, Dawn Staley chats as part of ESPN.com's tribute to Black History Month.
Staley, took over the Gamecocks program in May 2008 after eight seasons at Temple. The Philadelphia native led the Owls to a record of 172-80, took them to six NCAA tournaments and won four Atlantic 10 titles. In 2007, Dawn was voted Philadelphia's "Best College Coach" in Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly" edition.
As a member of USA Basketball, Staley was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 1994 and 2004. She is just one of three women in American history to win three consecutive Olympic basketball gold medals. Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoops are the other two.
Mechelle Voepel, a regular contributor to ESPN.com explains how Staley leads the way for a new wave of coaches.
Send your questions now and join Staley Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Dawn Staley (3:58 PM)
Let's get started!
Dawn, What do you think of Nancy Leiberman going to coach a NBDL team next year?
Dawn Staley (3:59 PM)
More power to Nancy. She's given a lot to basketball on both the men's a women's side.
whodatlady (new orleans, la)
Do you think there is a contender out there right now to beat U Conn?
Dawn Staley (4:00 PM)
Yes, Cleveland Cavs, Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers.
Monica Bowers (South Carolina)
So I am a HUGE Gamecock Fan! I go to the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, SC but i really wanted to go to Columbia! Anyway, I was wanting to know which team in the SEC seems to be the toughest team ya'll face and why? Good luck the rest of the season and Go Gamecocks!
Dawn Staley (4:01 PM)
Tough question because they are all tough teams to face. We've had trouble with LSU and a very athletic Mississippi State team. The one that really stands out is Tennessee. Their starting lineup is taller than our entire team.
Dale Campbell (Charleston,S.C.)
Just want to say that we are very proud to have you on our coaching team at USC. Your recruiting already stands out as becoming one of the best in the nation and we are proud and honored to have you. Keep up the good work and tons of success. Question: How do you have the time to recruit during the season as compared to the off season?
Dawn Staley (4:03 PM)
During the season, our off day is Monday. More times than not, I'm out every Monday recruiting. Since this week was a bi-week for us, I had the chance on the Tuesday and Wednesday to go out on the west coast for a recruiting trip.
Dave (Philadelphia (Temple U))
Hey Coach,We miss you back here at Temple! Can you just talk a little about the emotions you had leaving a team as a coach? Did you talk to coach Cardoza about things you did to get through to the returning players that were left on the team? Or is that something you let the new incoming coach figure out on his/her own?
Dawn Staley (4:05 PM)
I miss Philly as well. Coach Cardoza is a very good friend of mine and I gave the athletic department a good remediation of Tonya. I think she is going and will continue to do a great job a Temple.
Dawn! Thanks for chatting with us. What was the transition like from playing ball to coaching?
Dawn Staley (4:06 PM)
It was a pretty easy transition. My body told me to hang up my shoes but my mind told me that I still have so much more to offer to the game of basketball. By getting into coaching, I'm able to do so.
Jason (charleston, sc)
How you like it these two years at south carolina
Dawn Staley (4:07 PM)
I'm really enjoying myself on and off the court. I love the game of basketball and as long as I have it in my life I can live anywhere. The South Carolina fans make it easy to be here.
What do you think your team's chances are of getting into the NCAA tournament?
Dawn Staley (4:09 PM)
I'm trying to stay optimistic about that. We have to string together some quality wins in our last tree games and play well in the SEC tournament. We have to focus on Kentucky right now and just take it one game at a time.
How many SEC teams do you see getting bids this year? Which bubble teams do you see getting in?
Dawn Staley (4:10 PM)
Looking at how things have been going this season and looking at how teams are selected, teams above .500 get looked at first. If things stay true to form, hopefully we will be in that group and will have a shot at a bid.
Lois (Camden, NY)
Your basketball career has encompassed many chapters from college to coaching. If you had to pick a moment from all of these years that stands out as the most memorable would you be able to do that? If so which moment would it be?
Dawn Staley (4:12 PM)
The one that's probably different from any other accolade is being a flag bearer at the 2004 Olympics in Greece. That moment stands out the most for me.
Dave (South Carolina)
How has the team responded this week in practice after the 2 tough losses last week?
Dawn Staley (4:13 PM)
We've had some individual workouts but today was our first day getting back into the gym as a team. The players came in focused and ready to turn the season around. On Sunday, you should see a much more hungry South Carolina women's basketball team.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that it will be harder if you ever coached a Men's Basketball team?
Dawn Staley (4:15 PM)
(Laughing) I don't know if it would be harder for me. I would approach it the same way that I do with women. I think it would be tougher on the men taking instructions from a woman.
Susanne (Columbia, S.C.)
The progress the Gamecocks have made since last season is remarkable. What is your approach to creating a program that can be successful over a number of years? What qualities do you most look for in recruits?
Dawn Staley (4:16 PM)
There are a lot of qualities that I look at but athleticism stands out the most. At first, you can only watch from the sidelines and can't talk to them so you have to go off what you see on the court at first.
Dawn Staley (4:18 PM)
I would like to thank everybody for the questions. I hope that I answered them in a way that was pleasing to you all. Hope that you continue to supports us by coming to games and watching us when we are on TV. Best of luck to everyone as we head into the end of our seasons.