Dawn Staley to be Honored With UVa's Distinguished Alumna Award
April 7, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia alumna Dawn Staley (1989-92) will be honored with the 2006 Distinguished Alumna Award for the University of Virginia, the UVa Women’s Center announced on Friday.
Since 1991, the Center’s Distinguished Alumna Award has honored a female graduate of the University of Virginia who has demonstrated excellence, leadership, and extraordinary commitment to her field, and who has used her talents as a positive force for change. Past awardees include such accomplished UVa alumnae as Katie Couric, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, and astronaut Kathryn Thornton. An award dinner in her honor will be held on May 1 in Charlottesville. Unfortunately, Staley cannot attend the ceremony as she will be coaching with USA Basketball.
“Of all my lifetime experiences, my time at the University of Virginia remains the most life-defining,” Staley said. “I am forever grateful to UVa for exposing me to difference, providing the foundation for my quest for knowledge and helping to shape and channel my competitiveness, all of which have ultimately defined me in terms of how I see and participate in the world. I am proud to have been associated with such a fine institution, and I can only hope that I have brought some pride to the university that I love. WaHooWa!”
“Dawn is the epitome of what the Distinguished Alumni Award represents,” said Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan. “Since graduating in 1992 she has brought prestige and honor to the University through her personal and professional endeavors. Dawn’s experiences at Virginia have helped her to impact the world in a meaningful way. She is most deserving of this recognition.”
“Words alone do not adequately describe the unique person and player that almost single-handedly took the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball program to a championship level in the early 1990s,” said UVa Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage. “Far more important than words, Dawn has had a dramatic and positive influence on women’s sport, creating a greater awareness for the high quality of women’s college sports across the nation.”
Staley began her storied basketball career at Dobbins Technical High School (1986-89) in Philadelphia where she was named USAToday’s ‘National High School Player of the Year’ and led Dobbins to three straight Philadelphia Public League Championships.
During her tenure on Grounds, Staley was a three-time Kodak All-American. She led UVa to a 110-21 record, two Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championships, and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, three times advancing to the Final Four (1990, 1991, 1992). In 1991, Virginia advanced to the national championship game.
Staley remains the only player in NCAA Final Four history to be named Most Valuable Player without winning the national title. She still holds the NCAA record for steals with 454 and was named the National Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992. In addition, Staley was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992 and the Rookie of the Year in 1989.
The head coach at Temple since the 2000-01 season, Staley has proven herself among the top young collegiate coaches in the country, leading the Owls to four NCAA Tournaments in six seasons. Prior to her arrival Temple had never won the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, but has done so four times under Staley’s tutelage. Staley became the fastest coach in school history to reach 100 victories near the end of her fifth season and earned the 2004 and 2005 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, and 2002 and 2005 Philadelphia Big 5 Coach of the Year honors.
Staley’s Owls were ranked in the top 25 during the entire 2005-06 season and ended the season ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press writers poll and No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. On Jan. 19, Staley made history again when Temple edged No. 9 Rutgers, 48-47, for the program’s first victory over a Top 10 ranked school.
All of these accomplishments occurred while Staley maintained her highly visible “summer job” as an All-Star player for the WNBA’s Houston Comets. A four-time WNBA All-Star, she played professional basketball with the Charlotte Sting from 1999 to 2005. During her first season with the Sting, she averaged 11.5 points per game and ranked third in the league in assists with 5.5 assists per game while leading the team to a second-place finish in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. She was traded to Houston in 2005.
This summer Staley embarks upon new territory as she will serve as an assistant coach for the 2006 U.S. Women’s World Championship Team. Stepping into her inaugural coaching role with USA Basketball, Staley is certainly no stranger to the international game. A three-time Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist, Staley was a fixture on USA Basketball teams nearly every year from 1989-2004 and in addition to her Olympic and World Championship gold medals has finished atop the podium at the 2002 Opals World Challenge, 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup, 1994 Goodwill Games, 1993 World Championship Qualifying Tournament, 1992 R. William Jones Cup and 1991 World University Games, and finished with the bronze at the 1994 World Championship. All told, USA teams with Staley on the roster have posted an amazing 197-10 record (.952 winning percentage).
A two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year (1994, 2004), Staley was voted by all U.S. team captains in 2004 to carry the United States’ flag and lead the USA’s delegation into the Athens Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Additionally, Staley was named the MVP at the 1994 Goodwill Games and currently serves on the USA Basketball Executive Committee as an athlete representative.
“Dawn is a winner and the ultimate competitor,” said Anne Donovan, head coach for the 2006 U.S. Women’s World Championship Team. “She has been successful at the highest level as a player for our country. Dawn is a three-time gold medal Olympian, who is respected as no other and a definite leader for our program. She has translated her on-court success into being one of the brightest coaches in our game today. Dawn defines everything `golden’ about USA Basketball, and I am so glad that she will be on the sidelines with me.”
In addition to all of her commitments, Staley still found time to head the Dawn Staley Foundation which is aimed at giving inner-city at-risk youth training for their futures. The Foundation sponsors after-school programs incorporated into a three-hour focus on academics and athletics at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center. The Foundation also conducts summer basketball leagues and fund-raising activities. For her outstanding work with the Foundation and its influence within the community Staley was awarded the 1999 WNBA Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
In addition to the philanthropic work that Staley does with her Foundation, she is also heavily involved in the WNBA’s “Be Fit, Be Smart, Be Yourself” program, which is designed to educate teens and women about the risks and dangers of obesity and inactivity and to answer questions about healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. The program seeks to raise self-esteem and confidence among teens. The Philadelphia native has also taken a role in promoting women’s health, acting as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and Health Partners.
In 2005, Staley was awarded with Philadelphia’s prestigious Wanamaker Award, presented annually to the “athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel.” This was the second Wanamaker Award for Staley who is the only individual woman to ever win the award. She also took home the honor in 1997 and joins Joe Frazier (’68, ’71) and Steve Carlton (’73, ’83) as the only two-time individual winners of the award.
University of Virginia, 1992 Bachelor of Arts Rhetoric & Communications Studies Pfeiffer University, current pursuing a master’s degree
Professional Experience Head Coach, women’s basketball Temple University, 2000-present Six-year career coaching record stands at 126-59 (.681) after finishing the 2005-06 season with a 24-8 mark Founder, Dawn Staley Foundation 1999-present Point Guard, WNBA’s Houston Comets 2005-present Point Guard, WNBA’s Charlotte Sting 1999-2005 Point Guard, ABL’s Philadelphia Rage 1997-98 Point Guard, ABL’s Richmond Rage 1996-97 Point Guard, professional teams in France, Italy, Spain, and Brazil 1992-94
Coaching Honors 2006 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship 2006 NCAA Tournament appearance 2005 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year 2005 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship 2005 NCAA Tournament appearance 2004 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year 2004 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship 2004 NCAA Tournament appearance 2002 Philadelphia Big 5 Coach of the Year 2002 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship 2002 NCAA Tournament appearance 2001 Philadelphia Big 5 Coach of the Year 2001 Women’s National Invitation Tournament
Virginia Honors 2003 ACC Silver Anniversary Team Had #24 Virginia jersey retired 1991 Honda-Broderick Cup Award winner (Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year) 1991 & 1992 Champion USA Player of the Year 1991 & 1992 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year 1991 & 1992 Naismith Player of the Year 1991 & 1992 United States Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year 1991 Sports Illustrated Player of the Year 1991 Honda Basketball Sports Award 1991 Outstanding Philadelphia Amateur Athlete by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association 1991 & 1992 U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-American 1990, 1991, 1992 Kodak All-American 1991 & 1992 Mary Garber Award (ACC Female Athlete of the Year) 1991 & 1992 ACC Player of the Year 1990, 1991, 1992 first-team All-ACC 1989 second-team All-ACC 1990, 1991, 1992 Virginia Sports Information Directors’ (VaSID) Player of the Year 1990, 1991, 1992 VaSID All-State 1992 team captain 1991 & 1992 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team 1990 & 1992 Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA East Regional 1990 & 1992 NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team 1991 Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four 1991 Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Midwest Regional 1991 Midwest Regional All-Tournament 1992 ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player 1990, 1991, 1992 ACC All-Tournament
Career Records NCAA record for most career steals with 454 Only player (male or female) in ACC history to have a combination of over 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, 700 assists, and 400 steals First UVa women’s basketball player and fifth woman in ACC history to score over 2,000 career points Virginia’s career scoring leader with 2,135 points UVa and ACC career leader with 729 assists Holds Cavaliers’ career free throws made (505) record Stands second on the list for most wins played in during a career with 110 Set the record for games played in a career with 131, but now ranks fourth in that category Career scoring average leader with 16.3 ppg
Season Records Most free throws made in a season with 147 made in 1989 Most assists in a season with 235 in 1991
Game Records Most points in an NCAA Tournament game 32 vs. Penn State, 3/18/90 Tied for steals in a single-game 10 vs. Temple, 11/30/91 Second person in ACC history and the first Cavalier to have a triple-double 24 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists vs. N.C. State, 1-12-91; and 23 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists vs. N.C. State, 2-23-91
Olympic/USA Basketball Honors 2006 Assistant Coach for U.S. Women’s World Championship Team 2004 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year 2004 Olympic Gold Medal (Athens, Greece) [Staley’s ninth gold medal in international competition] 2004 USA Team Captain 2004 U.S. Olympic Flag Bearer for Opening Ceremonies 2000 Olympic Gold Medal (Sydney, Australia) 1996 Olympic Gold Medal (Atlanta, Ga.); guided the historic USA Basketball Women’s team that compiled a perfect 60-0 record In 1996, became the first basketball player from Virginia and the second Virginia female athlete to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games 1994 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year 1994 Most Valuable Player the Goodwill Games 1996 Goodwill Games Gold Medal
WNBA/ABL Honors 2005 Eastern Conference WNBA All-Star 2003 Eastern Conference WNBA All-Star 2002 Eastern Conference WNBA All-Star In 2001, Staley became the first U.S. professional to record 1,000 career assists. 2001 Eastern Conference WNBA All-Star Helped lead the Charlotte Sting to the 2001 WNBA championship series 1999 WNBA Sportsmanship Award 1999 WNBA Entrepreneurial Award Drafted by the Charlotte Sting in the first round (ninth overall) on May 4, 1999 1997 & 1998 ABL All-Star