Dawn Staley is officially the highest-paid head coach in NCAA Women’s Basketball, thanks to a seven-year contract totaling $22.4 million to continue her position with The University of South Carolina.   

Since her tenure at the University dating back 13 seasons, the Hall of Famer has flipped the conversation surrounding the women’s basketball program due to their impressive statistics. They are one of only three programs that were featured in half of the last six NCAA Final Fours (as of this writing) in which they took home the trophy in 2017. Under Staley’s reign, the team was the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament five times and racked up an impressive 25 weeks at the top spot in the Associated Press Poll. And, these accomplishments are merely scratching the surface for how the recent Olympic Champion has transformed The University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball program.

“Dawn Staley is one of the nation’s top coaches, regardless of the sport,” Ray Tanner, South Carolina Athletics Director said, according to press statement. “She has built our women’s basketball program from the ground up, and her teams have produced champions, both on and off the floor. The ability to keep Coach Staley at the University of South Carolina is great news for all Gamecocks. I join with our fans in looking forward to seeing the great achievements her program will continue to produce in the future.”

With her new contract, Staley will earn $2.9 million, an $800,000 increase from her former contract, Yahoo Sports previously reported. This a great feat for one of the top coaches who revealed the contract was in light of her push for equity, which she shares was a top priority following the 2021 tournaments for men and women. As AfroTech previously reported, pay disparities are a prominent issue plaguing women’s and men’s sports with women being underpaid in the top five most popular sports in comparison to their male counterparts.

“It’s always been an honor to represent the University of South Carolina, and this contract represents the University’s commitment to supporting me and our women’s basketball program,” Staley said in a press statement. 

She continued: “Contract negotiations are challenging, but this one was especially important as I knew it could be a benchmark, an example for other universities to invest in their women’s basketball programs, too. Our game continues to grow and the time is ripe to make a big step forward, but only if universities foster that growth by committing resources that are equitable to those given to their men’s programs.”

Kudos to Dawn Staley!

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