On Sunday night, South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley made good on her promise to Carolyn Peck (the first African American coach to win an NCAA women’s basketball title) by becoming an NCAA champion. Having a full circle moment, Staley, who went to the Final Four three times as a player, and once as a coach, brought home her first NCAA Title. The win also marks South Carolina’s first women’s basketball national championship. During the post-game press conference, Staley took time to thank the woman who passed on a piece of an inspiration to her.
Dawn Staley will be able to fulfill a promise to Carolyn Peck, the only other African-American woman to coach a national champion. pic.twitter.com/T6Uyve0JJX
— NCAA Women’s BKB (@ncaawbb) April 3, 2017advertisement
“Carolyn Peck, a few years ago, when she was commentating, she gave me a piece of her net. She told me to keep it. I’ve had it in my wallet for years. She said, ‘When you win your national championship, just return it,’ Staley said. “I’m going to have to pass a piece of my net on to somebody else so they can share and hopefully accomplish something as big as this. I do have to give a shout out to Carolyn Peck, and I will return her net, thankfully.”
Staley not only became the second African American woman to coach a national champion, but she also became the first women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player to win a national championship as a head coach.
Congratulations, Coach Staley! Thank you for blazing a trail and using your accomplishment to pass on inspiration to another aspiring African American coach.