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Women’s NCAA Championship Coach and Christian Dawn Staley Supports Inclusion of Trans Athletes

Dawn Staley
Screengrab via YouTube / @South Carolina Gamecocks

In a nail-biting final game, South Carolina continued its undefeated season and won over Iowa to become the 2024 NCAA women’s basketball champions.

Before the game, South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley answered questions in a press conference about her strategy, her passion for the players, and her support of trans athletes in women’s basketball.

“So, now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game,” Staley said during the press conference. “And I’m okay with that. I really am.”

NCAA Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley Is Open About Her Faith and Inclusion of Trans Athletes

South Carolina won the NCAA women’s basketball championship game back in 2022 and made it to the Final Four in 2023. This year, they took back the title. The championship game against the Iowa Hawkeyes was a close one. In the last few minutes, Iowa came within three points of South Carolina, but the Gamecocks powered through and won with a 12-point lead, 87 to 75.

Staley has coached the women’s basketball team for the Gamecocks for 16 years with a remarkable record. In the last five years, South Carolina has won 167 games and lost only nine games. The team is a powerhouse, and each athlete is important to Staley.

“It’s super fulfilling to know that you could be a part of your players’ lives where they can fulfill imagined dreams and unimagined dreams,” Staley shared in the press conference.

Staley has been open about her faith—both in the “gameday devotionals” she leads with the team and in pre- and postgame interviews. In fact, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent multiple letters to University of South Carolina President Michael Amiridis to complain about “serious constitutional concerns.”

After a win over Oregon State University, Coach Staley reflected on the terrible loss South Carolina experienced last season. She continued to celebrate the team’s success this season.

In the postgame interview courtside, Staley said, “If you don’t believe in God, there’s something wrong with you, seriously.” She continued, “I’m a believer. I’m a believer, because he makes things, he makes things come true. When you’re at your worst, he’s at his best.”

The most recent letter from the FFRF stated, “Coach Staley continues to violate the Constitution and the rights of players by promoting her personal religious beliefs through the women’s basketball program.”

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Controversy continues to surround the successful coach. But, this time, it’s not due to her faith but instead to her comments supporting trans athletes in women’s sports.