Nationwide — Dawn Staley, who made history as the first female Black head coach for South Carolina Gamecocks Women’s Basketball, is now the highest-paid Black coach in women’s college basketball after signing a 7-year contract worth $22.4 million.
As part of the contract, Staley’s base salary will be $1 million per year with outside compensation starting at $1.9 million on the first year, increasing by $100,000 each year after that. She is now one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in the country, alongside well-known University of Connecticut Huskies coach Geno Auriemma.
Staley hopes this “recognition” could serve as an encouragement to basketball teams to invest in women’s basketball like how it is for the men’s counterpart.
“It’s always been an honor to represent the University of South Carolina, and this contract represents the University’s commitment to supporting me and our women’s basketball program,” Staley said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Contract negotiations are challenging, but this one was especially important as I knew it could be a benchmark, an example for other universities to invest in their women’s basketball programs, too.”
Since 2008, Staley has been serving as Gamecocks’ head coach. For 13 years, she has led the team to the NCAA Final Four in 2015, 2017, and 2021, winning one NCAA National Championship in 2017.
Last year, Staley was named the National Coach of the Year, and the Gamecocks were also ranked Top 1 before the playoffs were canceled due to the pandemic.
Moreover, Staley also served as the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National team from 2017 to 2021, leading the team in getting the gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “Dawn Staley is one of the nation’s top coaches, regardless of the sport,” said Ray Tanner, the South Carolina Athletics Director.. “She has built our women’s basketball program from the ground up, and her teams have produced champions, both on and off the floor.”