Team USA women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley says she's keeping her focus on the task at hand and not getting distracted by her status as the first Black woman to hold the position.
“We got a job to do. It’s not about me at all,” Staley told The Associated Press in an interview published Monday. “I never get ahead of myself when it comes to that. I am enjoying the journey. I’m very aware of what’s happening around me.”
Staley also said she doesn’t feel any added pressure, knowing the importance of leading the team to its seventh consecutive gold medal, according to the AP.
The USA women's basketball team has won six-straight Olympic gold medals and head coach Dawn Staley has been a part of FIVE of them— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 18, 2021
Three as a player ('96, '00, 04)
Two as an assistant coach ('08, '16)
Basketball icon @dawnstaley pic.twitter.com/0KM1Lsk2qI
Women’s national team director Carol Callan told the newswire that Staley, who is also the head coach for the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, is the right choice for the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, saying that “she has put in an awful lot of time with USA Basketball.”
Las Vegas Aces forward and reigning WNBA MVP Aj’a Wilson, who called Stanley a "second mom," told the AP that “representation matters” when it comes to her former college coach leading the Olympic team.
“This is a personal one because it matters. This is a first for her and she’s been a first for many things, but yes I’m going to make sure I’m part of the team that gets it done,” Wilson said.
Staley was named head coach of the U.S. women’s team in 2017 after being an assistant coach for the last two Olympic Games.
She won three previous gold medals as a player for Team USA in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games respectively.