On Sunday night, Dawn Staley ascended to the top of the women’s college basketball coaching pyramid — and proved she’s more than worthy of her recent massive contract extension.
South Carolina soundly defeated Geno Auriemma’s UConn 64-49 in the NCAA title game, delivering the program’s second national championship and first since 2017.
It was the perfect way to end the first campaign of the seven-year, $22.4 million extension Staley signed with South Carolina in October — making her the highest-paid Black woman and among the highest-paid coaches in the sport.
- The deal pays her $2.9M in the first year and tops out at $3.5M.
- The title win delivered a $250,000 bonus, raising her season bonuses to $650,000.
- Staley is the first Black coach to win multiple national championships across the men’s or women’s games.
- The 51-year-old also coached Team USA to a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics.
As usual, Staley’s Gamecocks beat the Huskies with stifling defense.
After allowing the fourth-fewest points per game in the regular season (51.7), SC gave up just 49 on Sunday — the second-fewest UConn has scored in an NCAA tournament game.
Besides beating Auriemma — widely considered the greatest coach in the history of women’s basketball — Staley’s triumph was significant for another reason: The Gamecocks broke UConn’s historic 11-0 win streak in title games.