USC’s Staley, UNC’s Hatchell make Basketball Hall of Fame

South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley and North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013, the organization announced at a press conference in Atlanta on Monday.

Staley and Hatchell are part of a 12-member class that will be enshrined on Sun., Sept. 8, in Springfield, Mass. Both coaches have led their current college teams into the annual Carolinas Challenge at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, and Hatchell has long-standing ties to the Grand Strand and Pee Dee.

Staley is synonymous with women’s basketball excellence in an era that launched two professional leagues in the United States, including the WNBA. After earning USA Today National High School Player of the Year honors, she went on to a stellar career at the University of Virginia. A three-time Kodak All-American, Staley was the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year and won the Honda-Broderick Cup Award for Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year in 1991 after leading her Cavaliers to the national championship game. She played in three NCAA Final Fours and was twice the ACC Player of the Year. She is the only player in women’s college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 400 steals.

On the international stage, Staley continued to excel and has been part of the United States’ last four Olympic gold medals – three as a player (1996, 2000, 2004) and one as an assistant coach (2008). Twice named USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year (1994, 2004), she was selected by her fellow Olympians from all sports to carry the flag in the 2004 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Following the success of the 1996 Olympic team, Staley joined one of the two fledgling professional leagues in the U.S., playing with the Richmond (later relocated to Philadelphia) Rage of the ABL for two seasons, earning All-Star status both years. After joining the WNBA in 1999, Staley garnered five All-Star selections, twice earned the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award and was named to the All-Decade Team.

After her retirement in 2006, the league began awarding the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in 2007. Staley was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in the Class of 2012 with her former USA Basketball teammate and current assistant coach Nikki McCray. In 2013, the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia established the Dawn Staley Award, given to the nation’s best guard in women’s Division I basketball.

Now making a name for herself in the coaching ranks, Staley just completed her 13th season as head coach, her fifth at South Carolina. In leading the Gamecocks to a 92-66 record over that time, she has guided the team to back-to-back 25-win seasons, including this season’s 25-8 mark for the fourth-highest winning percentage in program history. The Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2012, the deepest into the tournament a Staley-coached team has advanced.

Hatchell, who recently guided the Tar Heels to a 29-8 finish and the No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Region of the NCAA Championship, is a three-time national coach of the year, Hatchell is the first woman with Carolina ties to earn induction and joins nine other Tar Heels in the Naismith Hall of Fame – coaches Ben Carnevale, Frank McGuire, Dean Smith, Larry Brown and Roy Williams, player/coach Billy Cunningham and players James Worthy, Robert McAdoo and Michael Jordan. In 2013, Hatchell became just the third women’s coach in history to reach 900 career wins, and she currently stands No. 2 all-time behind legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

In addition to her 27 years in Chapel Hill, Hatchell’s career also includes 11 seasons at Francis Marion in Florence, S.C. Her teams at Francis Marion won 272 games and national titles in 1982 and 1986. .

Hatchell joins coaches Guy Lewis, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian and players Bernard King, Gary Payton and Dawn Staley as members of the 2013 class that was formally introduced Monday as part of the Men’s Final Four festivities in Atlanta. Five direct elect selections were also announced – Roger Brown (ABA Committee), Edwin B. Henderson (Early African-American Pioneers Committee), Oscar Schmidt (International Committee), Richard Guerin (Veterans Committee) and Russ Granik (Contributor Direct Election Committee).

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