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Dawn Staley makes history with Naismith Coach of the Year award

Gamecock head basketball coach Dawn Staley is named the winner of the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award. But this isn't her first Naismith award.
Credit: AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After receiving several major awards already for this season, Dawn Staley has another coach of the year award and this one has allowed her to make history.

Staley was named the winner of the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award as presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club Thursday. Staley is also a two-time Naismith Player of the Year, winning in 1991 and 1992 when she was at Virginia. This means she is the first person to win the Naismith Player of the Year award and the Coach of the Year award.

Staley guided the Gamecocks to the top of the national rankings with a 32-1 record. In the SEC, South Carolina finished 16-0 and swept the regular season and conference tournament titles. The Gamecocks are currently on a 26-game winning streak, a program record.

She was already named the SEC Coach of the Year when the Associated Press honored her as the national coach of the year. The WBCA Coach of the Year would soon follow Staley after after she assembled a team that would have been the number one overall seed for the NCAA Tournament and the favorite to win the national championship before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus.

RELATED: Dawn Staley named WBCA National Coach of the Year

RELATED: Dawn Staley named AP National Coach of the Year

"It is truly an honor to receive the Naismith National Coach of the Year, and, while I'm the one receiving the award, every head coach knows you cannot be a good coach without great assistants, great support staff, and great players," Staley said. "So, this award is every bit as much theirs as it is mine. We are blessed at the University of South Carolina to have the best FAMS in the nation. They support us every day, on the court and off it, and it is my hope that during this trying time in our nation, when games like basketball seem so distant, that reading about this award gives those fans a little bit of joy and reminds them a little of what we can all look forward to when we come through this time on the other side. To the committee, to my staff, to our players and to our FAMS - thank you - and I can't wait to get back on the court!"

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