COLUMBIA, S.C. - In recognition of her leadership on and off the court, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has been named a winner of the 2019 Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award.
Established in 2007, the Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award honors individuals who have found the game of basketball to be a contributing aspect of their personal growth and accomplishment, a place to develop an understanding of others and an avenue that has helped shape his or her growth into a recognized visionary leader.
Staley has coached at the University of South Carolina since 2008 and has catapulted the Gamecocks into the national spotlight. She led the Gamecocks to a NCAA National Championship in 2017 and 131 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top 25, including 63 weeks in the top five. Staley's legacy extends beyond South Carolina, earning three Olympic Gold medals and being named a WNBA All-star six times.
Off the court, Staley has found purpose in helping those in need. In 1996, she founded the Dawn Staley Foundation to provide a multi-faceted academic, athletic, and community program to empower middle school girls. In addition to her personal foundation, she also co-founded INNERSOLE to provide new sneakers to homeless and children in low-income households. Staley's commitment to the community has earned her many accolades including the Red Cross Spectrum Award, Henry P. Iba Citizenship Award and South Carolina's highest civilian honor for achievement and service to the state. Since 2007, the WNBA has presented a community leadership award bearing her name.
Staley will enter the 2019-20 season with the No. 1 rated recruiting class in 2019. The Gamecocks' five-member signing class, which includes four of the top-13 recruits in the nation, has been touted to be among the top groups of all-time.