For college basketball coaches, there is no off-season. Like many other coaches, Temple women’s basketball Coach Dawn Staley took to the road this past summer, traveling a lot more than her counterparts, but not in search of recruits for her Temple team.
Instead, Staley was on the road donning her Charlotte Sting jersey while helping her team to their first WNBA Finals appearance.
While competing in the WNBA, Staley missed the hottest month of recruiting. The summertime is one of the few times college coaches have the opportunity to scout prospective students at AAU tournaments, camps and clinics.
“If there was a tournament near where we were playing, I’m there,” Staley said. “But it’s difficult, I don’t have a lot of time for myself, but I chose that. I don’t need a lot of time, as long as I can sleep in my own bed that’s enough for me.
“When you have a dual profession you have to prioritize and be very organized. It’s almost like working in progress whereas I have an idea what I want to accomplish for my players in the off-season.”
Last season in her head-coaching debut, Staley guided Temple to a 19-11 overall record and an 11-5 conference record, good for a third place finish.
There have also been some changes in the Owls’ personnel since last season. Shawn Campbell, Staley’s associate head coach last season, and Staley’s mentor, left Temple to take over as head coach at Western Kentucky. Campbell was a longtime assistant coach at Virginia and helped recruit Staley out of Dobbins High School in Philadelphia.
The Owls then acquired Ed Baldwin to replace Campbell as Staley’s top assistant. Baldwin, who came to Temple from UNC-Charlotte, brings 13 years of head-coaching experience and is the all-time winningest coach at UNC-Charlotte.
“Coach Baldwin is a go-getter,” Staley said. “He’s not going to wait back, if he sees something that’s wrong, his instinct is to jump in and fix it. Ed has some sharp eyes in seeing how basketball should be played and he attacks it. And I welcome that.
“I think his vision for basketball players and the team is to make sure that they’re excelling both on the court and off the court, and I think he’s going to help us accomplish that.”
Prior to returning to the Owls, Staley had the opportunity to talk to some of her past coaches, such as current Sting Coach Anne Donovan and U.S. Olympic Coach Tara VanDerveer, for some coaching advice.
“I talked to people about their experiences, but at the same time what better way to learn from your own mistakes and experiences,” Staley said. “For me, I’ve played basketball for so long and been coached by some great coaches and my experiences with them have helped me shape how I am as a coach.”
Staley has been responsible for the vast improvement in junior point guard Stacey Smalls. Staley plays the same position in the WNBA and has been able to help Smalls mature into a team leader and improve her court vision.
Staley has been a major asset to the team. At 31, Staley mixes her young age and lifetime of experiences on and off the court to help relate with her players on a personal level.