WNBA creates Community Leadership Award in honor of Dawn Staley
| Each year, head coach Dawn Staley and the women’s basketball team adopt a family in need for the holidays. In 2005, the team members and staff bought presents, paid out of their own pockets, for two families. Shown above in December 2004, they hosted a family with six children living in the Acts Christian Transitional Services Shelter — where the Dawn Staley Foundation also holds an annual Thanksgiving dinner.
|(Photo by Joseph V. Labolito / University Photography)
Temple women’s basketball head coach and former WNBA player Dawn Staley was recently honored by the WNBA with the creation of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, an award that was named to recognize Staley’s outstanding leadership efforts and love for the game.
"This is a tremendous honor for Dawn, but also fitting as she is a leader in community service both here in Philadelphia and in the cities she has played in during her stellar career," said Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw.
Staley retired in September after eight seasons in the WNBA with an incredible legacy: a five-time WNBA All-Star, winner of three Olympic medals, flag bearer for the USA for the 2004 Athens Olympics, and Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005.
Head coach of the Temple women’s basketball team since 2001, she also currently serves as the assistant coach for the USA Basketball Senior National Team. Staley’s successes, however, extend beyond her capabilities as a point guard and coach.
Also a notable humanitarian, Staley created the Dawn Staley Foundation in 1996 to give back to the Philadelphia community where she grew up. Targeting at-risk youth populations, the foundation seeks to provide opportunities for youth through after-school programs, summer basketball leagues and mentoring programs for girls.
“Women’s basketball is certainly richer for her many contributions, but so are the lives of the many people Dawn has reached out to in her hometown of Philadelphia and in the cities where she has played, Charlotte and Houston,” said Donna Orender, president of the WNBA, in announcing the new award.
“It is only fitting that the WNBA create an award that celebrates her spirit of generosity and character.”
Beginning in 2007, each WNBA team will nominate one player who has demonstrated significant dedication, time, and effort to a charitable cause. After a designated committee selects a winner, the WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to the player’s charity of choice.
"So many things have happened to me in my life that I never could have dreamed —carrying the American flag in the Olympics, having a WNBA award named for me — these are the things that really blow me away,” Staley said. “In the end, I still think I'm just a hard-working girl from North Philadelphia.”
Bill Bradshaw added, “At Temple, we have known for quite some time the special person that Dawn Staley is, but this award will ensure that generations of young women will know of her legacy on and off the court.”
By Erin Cusack
For the Temple Times