On Thursday, the Associated Press announced that Dawn Staley will be the US women's Olympic basketball coach for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Staley, now the head coach of the University of SC women's team, will maintain her position, as the schedule for both teams will not interfere with her duties. Staley has won three Olympic gold medals as a player - in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Games. Staley will succeed UConn coach Geno Auriemma in the role in a press conference that will be held on Friday. "Her last quad as a player, she knew that someone would have to fill her shoes and saw it was me".
Next year Staley will coach the US team at the FIBA World Cup in Spain ahead of the Tokyo games in 2020. She will then move on to preparing Team USA for the 2019 Olympic qualifiers and 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo. "She knows what it means to be a good teammate".
When asked about the current dilemma facing the women's team (Tamika Catchings retired after the 2016 WNBA season, and some players haven't committed yet), Staley didn't show much concern, stating that this is a process.
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"There is no one better qualified and no one better positioned to continue this culture of excellence than Dawn", said USA Basketball CEO and executive director Jim Tooley.
Staley acknowledged she now feels more pressure to keep the team's remarkable run of success going. "It's basketball bliss, and you want to keep capturing those moments". Prior to arriving in Columbia, Staley was Temple's coach for eight seasons.
The 46-year-old former guard, who spent 11 seasons in the Women's National Basketball Association, has coached the University of SC women's team since 2008 after eight seasons guiding Temple. She was scouting the quarterfinals with the rest of the Gamecock coaching staff when she got the call.
Staley vows no change in USA trademarks of fast-paced attack and pressuring defense.
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"It was a surreal moment", Staley said. "Thank God for assistant coaches because they were paying attention to the game".
The members of Staley's current SC team attended Friday's announcement wearing black T-shirts that read "2020 Vision".
In addition, she was awarded 2015 USA Basketball co-coach of the year and was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
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