Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 8:02 AM
Updated: Friday, March 10, 2017 @ 8:02 AM
By: Bob D'Angelo - Cox Media Group National Content Desk
USA Basketball has called a news conference for Friday and is expected to name South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley to direct the women’s national team, the Post and Courier reported.
Staley won three gold medals as a player and two more as an assistant. Staley would succeed Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who has led the U.S. women’s teams for the past two Olympics. Staley was an assistant to Auriemma in Rio de Janeiro and also assisted Anne Donovan on the gold-winning team at Beijing in 2008.
According to USA Basketball, the news conference will be to announce the head coach who will lead the U.S. women’s national team in the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, if necessary the 2019 Olympic qualifying tournament, and the 2020 Olympics.
“I think it is the perfect person for our game and for generations to come," basketball television analyst Debbie Antonelli told the Post and Courier. "There’s no better competitor. There’s no greater ambassador for our game. Dawn has embodied the full patriotic experience. She gets it.”
The United States has won the gold medal in women’s basketball in six consecutive Olympics. The American women have won 49 straight games and are 66-3 since beginning play in 1976.
Staley played on U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and was the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremonies before her final games in Sydney.
As a head coach, Staley has led U.S. women's teams to gold medals three times: at the 2007 Pan-American Games, the 2014 under-18 FIBA Americas Championship, and most recently the 2015 under-19 FIBA World Championships in Russia, where Gamecocks star A'ja Wilson was named MVP.
At South Carolina, Staley has led the Gamecocks to four straight Southeastern Conference titles and three straight SEC Tournament crowns. She guided South Carolina to its first Final Four in 2015. This season the Gamecocks went 27-4 and are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press poll.