Dawn Staley South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley talks with media after the game with Texas A & M at the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament game at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Friday, March 8, 2024.

As Dawn Staley has built a budding women’s basketball dynasty at the University of South Carolina, she has developed a reputation of being great with local media.

The three-time NCAA champion coach recently opened up to Front Office Sports about why she values local media in Columbia, and how she believes those relationships foster a bigger, more dedicated fan base for her program.

“They know the type of questions they need to ask because they know the inner workings of our team,” Staley told Margaret Fleming of FOS. “They’ve watched us, and they’ve followed us, and they know what our standard is, and when we don’t play to our standard, they recognize it. So it’s not like the national media who sees you once or twice or three times, and that’s their opinion. Or they’ll speak from a historical standpoint, not knowing real-time what our team is all about. But the local media, they know.

“I’d rather spend my time with the people that really know our team, that’s going to report back to our fan base and give them the real.”

Throughout a chaotic NCAA tournament amid an undefeated season while the Gamecocks worked to atone for last year’s loss in the Final Four, Staley remained committed to carrying out interviews with local reporters.

Even the day of the championship game, Staley spent time pregame and long after the buzzer with those reporters.


Staley hopes to see other college coaches follow suit, no matter what sport they coach or what city they coach in.

“I think local media is the soul to the local team,” Staley told Fleming. “I hope that … whatever market that you’re in, that you allow your local media access to your team. Because the community is listening, and that’s your fan base.”

Given that South Carolina has raised home ticket prices recently and opened its season in Paris last year while Staley earned a big raise in 2021, the program is in great shape thanks to all the winning. Maybe the competition will realize that local fan excitement is just as important an ingredient for Staley as anything.

[Front Office Sports]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.