Hours before the report came out that the Blazers are set to hold second interviews for Chauncey Billups and Becky Hammon, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley confirmed she has talked with the Blazers.
Staley appeared on NBC's TODAY Show to announce the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, while also discussing the Blazers head coaching vacancy.
Last week, Staley emerged as a candidate for the Blazers' vacancy. On Monday during a Zoom press conference, she confirmed she spoke with the organization.
“I’ve talked to the Portland Trail Blazers, and that’s the extent of it,” Staley said. “I’ve talked to them.”
The WNBA legend also appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show where Craig Melvin asked Staley if she was really considering the move from the college ranks to the pros.
“At this stage of the game, I think you have to consider it all. Home is where the heart is. But at the same time when you have an opportunity to be something different and open up the doors for other women, you definitely have to consider it.
“But you also have to be ready for it, too, and that’s a big leap that no other college coach has ever done and been successful.”
Staley, 51, has been the head coach for the Gamecocks since 2008.
Here are just a few of Staley's accolades:
- Six-time WNBA All-Star from 2001-06
- Chosen to the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time in 2011
- Two-time Naismith College Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992
- Two-Time ACC Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992
- As far as coaching goes, she led the Gamecocks to a 2017 NCAA National Championship, in her 12 seasons at the helm of South Carolina, the Gamecocks have been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 151 consecutive weeks, including 80 weeks in the top 5
- NCAA Tournament Champion in 2017
- Six-time SEC Tournament Champion
- Four-time SEC Coach of the Year (2014-16, 2020)
- Naismith Coach of the Year in 2020
- AP National Coach of the Year in 2020
South Carolina has also confirmed the Blazers’ interest in Staley saying in an official school statement:
“The Portland Trail Blazers have contacted Athletics Director Ray Tanner to let the school know of the team’s interest in speaking to Coach Staley about their head coaching position.”