When three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley took the reins of the University of South Carolina women's basketball program on May 10, 2008, the Gamecocks' stature immediately rose not just in the Southeastern Conference but on the national stage as well. Building on a foundation of hard work, defensive effort and a "team first" mentality, South Carolina began to realize those expectations in 2011-12, and the program has continued to thrive as one of seven in the nation to be ranked in every Associated Press Top 25 poll since the start of the 2013-14 season. The Gamecocks boast five straight 25-win seasons, which include three SEC regular-season championships (2014, 2015, 2016), two SEC Tournament titles (2015, 2016), an NCAA Final Four appearance (2015) and three other Sweet 16 seasons (2012, 2014, 2016), the program's first ever No. 1 national ranking and a school-record 34 wins in 2014-15. Staley's success has united every demographic in the state of South Carolina as the Gamecocks' fan base tripled over a span of three seasons, and twice led the nation in home attendance (2014-15, 2015-16).
While her coaching career is blossoming, Staley is still recognized for her body of work as a one of the most decorated participants in United States women's basketball history. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame solidified her legacy with her enshrinement as part of the Class of 2013. The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia established the Dawn Staley Award recognizing the nation's top guard in women's Division I basketball in 2013 as well. Staley was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012 and was one of the final nominees for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame the same year. In the summer of 2011, the WNBA recognized her as one of the league's "Top 15," honoring the most influential players in the league's history.
Lisa Boyer joined the South Carolina staff in May 2008, shortly after head coach Dawn Staley announced her intention to join the Gamecocks. Boyer has been the lead assistant on a Staley-led staff since the 2002-03 season when she returned to the college ranks after five seasons coaching at the professional level. Named associate head coach in May 2010, Boyer is the Gamecocks' recruiting coordinator and works directly with South Carolina's guards. Her experience and analytic mind have helped guide South Carolina to five straight 25-win seasons, highlighted three SEC regular-season championships (2014, 2015, 2016), two SEC Tournament titles (2015, 2016), the program's first NCAA Final Four appearance (2015) and the program's highest final ranking (No. 3 in 2014-15 and in 2015-16). For her 30+ years in coaching and shaping both professional and collegiate players, Boyer's alma mater honored her with induction into the Ithaca College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
"Having Lisa on our staff says a lot because she could be a head coach in her own right," Staley said. "I strive for perfection. If you don't have the knowledge to accomplish perfection, then you get somebody who has that knowledge to pass it along to you. When I started in coaching, Lisa was that person for me. I wore her down because I knew I needed her. I trust her with my life, and I knew I could trust her with my career, not just as a coach, but as an administrator, a manager and overall as a person."
With 23 seasons of coaching experience, Jolette Law returned to her homestate to join the Gamecocks in June 2017, reuniting with her long-time friend in South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. Law has been a head coach, an associate head coach and an assistant for four different programs, including some of the most successful seasons at a pair of long-time women's basketball powers.
"I chose to become a Gamecock for three reasons," Law said upon her hiring. "It brings me closer to my mom, family and friends in Florence. I get to work with Dawn Staley -- a good friend who also happens to be a Hall of Famer, an Olympic coach and national champion. The family culture and authentic spirit of the administration, women's basketball staff, the young ladies on the team and everyone that touches the program is real."
Fred Chmiel reunited with South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley in June 2015, marking their third partnership, including one season in which he coached Staley in the WNBA. In 10 seasons as an assistant coach at the college level, Chmiel has been part of seven conference regular-season titles, two conference tournament titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Sweet 16 berths, and his teams have produced five WNBA draft picks.
"Coach Staley has always been family to me," Chmiel said. "This staff's work ethic and determination are something that I want to exemplify in my coaching career. I'm going to do whatever I can to help propel this program to a national championship. Coach Staley has done so much in seven season, from ground zero to a national powerhouse, that I want to add whatever I can from my experiences."
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