South Carolina Basketball: Dawn Staley wins first of (likely) many National Coach of the Year honors for 2023-2024

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley was chosen as the 2023-2024 national coach of the year by The Athletic.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley has done one of her finest-ever coaching jobs this season.

Predicted by many to be entering a "rebuilding year" heading into the 2023-2024 season, the Gamecocks have dominated their way through the schedule. USC is the only undefeated team in the nation, and they won the SEC by 3 games over the preseason national championship-favorite LSU Tigers. In short, the Gamecocks picked up right where they left off despite no expectations that it would happen.

The Gamecocks were the best team in all of college basketball defensively, and for much of the year, they were also the highest-rated offense. They ended up at #1 (defense) and #2 (offense) in the yearly efficiency numbers when the regular season ended last weekend. USC's win over Tennessee on Sunday capped off the first-ever back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in SEC history.

At 30-0 after a quarterfinal victory over Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks will be the #1-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. This March, Carolina is the overwhelming favorite to finish the job and win their third national championship, finishing the job this year after last season's disappointment in the Final Four.

For her work this season, The Athletic has named Dawn Staley their National Coach of the Year.

Considering Staley considered early retirement this offseason and most of the college basketball world believed the Gamecocks would be a good-not-great team, a national coach of the year honor and a spot as the favorite to win a title isn't too bad.

The job is not done for Staley and her South Carolina basketball squad, but there is little reason to doubt that this team will take care of business during March Madness.

With a roster full of players who defer their personal accolades for the betterment of the team, Carolina still put 8 on the SEC awards this season and had real arguments that they should have pushed that number to double-figures.

Selection Sunday is March 17th, and while that won't be a day with any suspense for South Carolina basketball fans, it will kickstart what is sure to be a long run into the NCAA Tournament.

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