For most, basketball is a mixture of jump shots, crossovers, dunks, three pointers, zone defense, and a host of other techniques.
For Women’s basketball head coach and WNBA All-star Dawn Staley, basketball has a deeper meaning.
“Basketball is basically my everything,” she said.
“It is my safe haven, it created a competitive environment for me, it’s a family atmosphere. It encompasses everything a person can want.”
What Dawn Staley brings to the sport and to Temple University is a level of commitment that seems to have infected a team on the verge of great things.
Dawn Staley became the head coach of Temple Women’s Basketball team in the 2000-2001 season after former head coach and now athletic director Kristen Foley stepped down.
Upon her arrival, there were big expectations and looks of a bright future.
In theory, Staley could have gone anywhere to coach, but she landed at Temple.
“I chose Temple because there’s a connection,” Staley said.
“I’m from North Philly, I grew up watching both the men’s and women’s program, I live right down the street and probably most of all Temple chose me. It was a great fit. They put it in a way that was a challenge and challenges drive me. I thought it was a win-win situation for us all.”
Staley has overcome numerous challenges on the court and the sidelines.
The Olympics, WNBA, Final Four appearances and the Atlantic 10 Conference are several of her conquered challenges.
This past summer, Staley continued her success in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting, averaging 8.7 points and 5.1 assists a game.
With only a week to herself in between, Staley then set out to add a World Championship title to her resume’ during the late summer.
During her travels she stopped in places like Cuba and Thailand.
“I thought it was incredible,” she said.
“To go there with a couple of teammates and talk through the language barrier was a great experience.”
She said one of her most memorable experiences came when she visited Thailand.
“We were able to get suits custom made for very cheap with great quality and the entire team ended up getting a lot of suits made. I call them sideline suits.”
You can be sure that you’ll be seeing these “sideline suits” on display during the games this season.
Overall, the World Championships were a fun and successful event for Staley.
Looking ahead, this season provides a challenge to a team ready to establish themselves among the great teams around the country.
The schedule they have is particularly difficult, with the team facing big name opponents like Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Boston College as well as tough A-10 opponents like George Washington.
There are also many new faces on the team replacing experienced veterans, and they are expected to top the accomplishments the Lady Owls had last season.
Coach Staley is well aware of these challenges and is ready to see them through.
“I think anything that we do we want to be very disciplined,” she said.
“They’re given the opportunity that not a lot of people get, to come to school on a scholarship and to play basketball. These are experiences that a lot of people get robbed of.”
The future for Dawn Staley and the Lady Owls is uncharted, with many possibilities.
These possibilities have nothing but promise, given the atmosphere created by a coach with a deep connection to the sport of basketball.
“I have a love and a passion for (basketball) that is expressed through the environment we have,” said Staley.
“We can hopefully filter that through the campus and have people see the passion that I speak of.”
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org