COLUMBIA — USC women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley has received South Carolina’s highest civilian award.
Gov. Nikki Haley presented Staley with the Order of the Palmetto during halftime of the South Carolina-Florida game on Saturday.
Staley, who’s in her sixth season at Carolina, has led the Gamecocks to two 25-win seasons at the school.
“It caught me by surprise I think anytime that this wonderful state can recognize me it’s a wonderful thing but I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such an honor,” Staley said after the presentation. “But I’m very appreciative of Governor Haley bestowing me this prestigious award.”
Back in September, Staley was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. During her playing career, Staley was a two-time ACC Player of the Year, a three-time Olympic champion, and a five-time WNBA all-star.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame solidified her legacy with her enshrinement into the Hall as part of the Class of 2013. The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia established the Dawn Staley Award recognizing the nation’s top guard in women’s Division I basketball in 2013 as well. Staley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012 and was one of the final nominees for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame the same year. In the summer of 2011, the WNBA recognized her as one of the league’s “Top 15,” honoring the most influential players in the league’s history.