After leading the U.S. women’s basketball team to a gold medal at the Olympics, Dawn Staley is stepping down as head coach of the national team.
The duke women’s basketball coach is a news article about the resignation of Dawn Staley from her position as head coach for the United States Women’s Basketball team.
3.23 a.m. ET
ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel
- Mechelle Voepel is an espnW reporter that covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports. Voepel has been with ESPN since 1996 and has covered women’s basketball since 1984.
When asked before the Olympics whether she would contemplate a second term as head coach of the USA women’s basketball team, Dawn Staley joked that she needed to win in Tokyo first.
Staley had a response for Team USA’s eighth straight Olympic gold medal on Sunday: “I’m done.”
“Does that feel nice, Dawn?” questioned American guard Diana Taurasi after Staley said it in the Americans’ postgame press conference.
Sue Bird, who, like Taurasi, won her fifth Olympic gold medal, announced that this would be her last Olympics, although she had already said so before coming to Tokyo. Taurasi, on the other side, replied, “See you in Paris” — the 2024 Olympic host city — but it was unclear if she was kidding.
In any case, Staley stated she has loved her stay but has completed all of her tasks. She stated she enjoys being a part of the national team because of the purity and simplicity of “simply playing.”
“It’s unlike any other squad you’ll be a part of,” Staley added. “It’s exactly what I want to instill on my college squad.”
Staley has a long history with USA Basketball, having played for the organization while at Virginia, making the senior national team for the 1994 FIBA Women’s World Cup, and winning the first of her three Olympic gold medals in 1996.
In 2008 and 2016, Staley served as an assistant Olympic coach. In March 2017, she was appointed head coach of the national team, and a few weeks later, she led South Carolina to their first NCAA title.
Since then, it’s been a juggling act between her collegiate program, which also advanced to the Final Four this season, and her USA commitments. Staley led the Americans to FIBA Women’s World Cup gold in 2018 and shared the experience with former Gamecocks standout A’ja Wilson.
Staley joins the late Anne Donovan in earning Olympic gold in 5-on-5 basketball as both a player and a head coach with this victory in Tokyo. In 1984 and 1988, Donovan was a gold medalist as a player, and in 2008, he was named head coach. Pat Summitt won a silver medal as a player in 1976 and then captained the United States to victory in 1984.
Only UConn coach Geno Auriemma has led the United States women’s national team in two Olympic cycles, thus Staley’s departure is not surprising (2012, 2016).
The Americans have now won 55 straight Olympic games, and Staley credited Taurasi and Bird with helping to keep that run going.
“This victory began before them, but they finished it off,” she said. “They took it to new heights. They’re putting a lot of pressure on the next coach and the next group of players to do well.”
By the time the US women’s basketball team competes in the 2022 World Cup, Staley’s departure will have resulted in all-new leadership. Carol Callan, who has led the program since 1995, said in July that she would be stepping down as national team director, but she will continue to serve as president of FIBA Americas.