Dawn Staley is stacking up achievements in 2021. It’s the eighth month of the year and she’s already led South Carolina to an SEC championship and Final Four appearance, coached Team USA to a gold medal and interviewed for an NBA head coaching job.
The first two are more common knowledge, but the third hasn’t been discussed much outside of the NBA news cycle. Staley and San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon interviewed interviewed for the Portland Trail Blazers opening that eventually went to Chauncey Billups, whose hiring sparked criticism after sexual assault allegations against him were unearthed. The Blazers received further scrutiny for their investigation of the 1997 case.
On Tea with A & Phee podcast with WNBA stars Napheesa Collier and A’ja Wilson, the North Philly legend opened up about her experience with the Trail Blazers.
“I never had an ounce of me that wanted to coach in the WNBA or NBA, until somebody sought me out, like the Portland Trail Blazers,” Staley said.
“When you’re being sought out, you have to vet it a little bit to see if they’re really serious about it. I thought they treated me like a real candidate. Whether or not they seriously considered me, I felt like it wasn’t a fluke. So I agreed to do it.”
Staley said that she’d used her interview process to help other women who get in that position.