When Dawn Staley takes the stage at Temple University’s commencement Thursday, she knows she’ll feel uncomfortable — she always does when she has to give a speech — and she’s OK with that.

“In order for you to grow as a person and an athlete and whatever life throws at you, you’re going to have to feel uncomfortable,” said Staley, 52, an American Basketball Hall of Fame player and coach who grew up in North Philadelphia — home to Temple’s main campus — and once worked at Temple. “So I guess I’m continuing to grow through giving speeches throughout my life.”

It’s just one of the life lessons that the three-time Olympic gold medalist, who currently is head coach for the South Carolina Gamecocks — this year’s national champions — will embody at Temple’s first university-wide in-person commencement since the pandemic, held at the Liacouras Center.

» READ MORE: Who is speaking at Philadelphia area commencements? Here's the list

Staley is one of three rock-star basketball coaches who have roots in the region and who are addressing graduates at commencements this month: Jay Wright, Villanova’s outgoing men’s basketball coach who took the team to national championships in 2016 and 2018, will speak there May 13. And Phil Martelli, who coached the St. Joseph’s men’s basketball team for more than three decades and now is associate head coach for the University of Michigan men’s team, will address graduates at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown on May 14.

Athletics teach many life skills: self-discipline, determination, resiliency, and perhaps most important, what it means to be part of a team. Coaches spend their lives building those teams, nurturing those skills and seeking that special recipe that will motivate their players for greatness. Now, these coaches will try their hand at stirring those same emotions in the newest crop of graduates.

“Give the message like you talk to your players,” Wright said he was advised.

And so he will.

Here’s a look at the coaches and some of what they plan to say:

Jay Wright

“One of the things that our program is built on is that your attitude is your most important characteristic in life,” said Wright, 60, who spent 21 years as Villanova’s head coach and five as an assistant.

“You don’t have control of so much in life, but you control your effort and the amount of work you put in to whatever you do, and you control your attitude.”

» READ MORE: Retiring coach Jay Wright to Villanova's commencement speaker

It will be the first college commencement speech for Wright, who says he’s likely to be a bit nervous.

“It means I care,” said Wright, who writes out his speeches but doesn’t look at them while on stage. “I’ve always said that to our players. It just means that it’s important to you and you’re thinking about it. Usually you fight through that, and usually that’s when you have your best performance.”

Growing up in the region, Wright, a graduate of Council Rock High School North in Bucks County, said he had always admired Villanova and wanted to go there, though he ended up at Bucknell.

But he fulfilled his desire to be part of Villanova, from where his wife is an alumna, when he started coaching there.

Though he retired last month as head coach, he will remain part of the Villanova team, so to speak, as a special assistant to the president.

Wright plans to talk about the importance of being a team player, especially in a world that often emphasizes self-promotion and individual glory.

“There is another way to go through life where you actually think about being part of something bigger than yourself and thinking about how your actions impact others, and that’s being part of a team,” he said. “That’s something in athletics that can really help you in life.”

Phil Martelli

It will be the fourth commencement speech for Martelli, who spent 24 years as the Hawks’ head coach and 10 as an assistant. He previously spoke at Widener University, his alma mater; Immaculata University, where his wife had been a member of its national championship women’s basketball team; and Cabrini, where he had done some philanthropic work with the president.

When he speaks at Delaware Valley, his goal, as always, will be to touch at least one person in the audience and make a difference in that person’s life, he said.

“In a perfect world, I touch a lot of people,” said Martelli, 67.

He plans to tell graduates to thank their loved ones who sacrificed to help them get to graduation.

He’ll also emphasize the importance of punctuality.

“As a head basketball coach, I had one rule, and the rule was to be on time,” he said. “Being on time is the ultimate sign of respect.”

From his past speeches, he knows his message can resonate. When he was at the Jersey Shore, a Cabrini graduate remembered him.

“She said, ‘My grandfather thought it was one of the most profound speeches he ever heard,’” he said she told him.

Dawn Staley

Staley said she will talk about how growing up in North Philly, where a street is now named after her, molded her and was key to her success.

“I came from really humble beginnings and found a way to utilize how to survive in North Philly,” said Staley, who attended Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School. “It’s taken me where I am today, and I don’t take that lightly. Every step of my success has been attributed to my beginnings in North Philly.”

It will be her first time speaking at Temple’s commencement, but not her first commencement speech. She previously addressed graduates at the University of Virginia, her alma mater.

Earlier this week, she said she was still formulating her message. But basically she plans to tell graduates — Temple has nearly 10,000 this year — to be fearless.

“To be fearful immobilizes you,” said Staley, who coached at Temple for eight years and left in 2008 for South Carolina’s women’s team, which she has coached to two national championships. “To be fearless allows you the courage to lead and to do everything that you want to do.”

When she was still coaching at Temple, she bought a paperweight with the message: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Those words have guided her.

“That’s the type of fearlessness I will speak to the graduates about,” she said. “Act as if you won’t fail.”