The Columbia Chamber will honor University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley at its 115th Annual Gala Sept. 27.
Staley has been named Ambassador of the Year for outstanding ethics, promotion and preservation of the Midlands.
“The Annual Gala allows the chamber to celebrate remarkable individuals who move our region forward in a positive fashion,” Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber president and CEO, said. “Dawn Staley is an influential role model both on and off the court. Her leadership and work ethic is admired across the state, the nation and by people of all ages.”
Staley led the women's basketball team to the 2017 NCAA national championship. As a player, she was a three-time Olympian and was named one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time in 2011. She is also a five-time WNBA all star. As a coach, she led the team to four consecutive Southeastern Conference championships and three SEC tournament titles. She earned SEC Coach of the Year honors three times.
Staley is also the co-founder of INNERSOLE, which provides new athletic shoes to underprivileged children. INNNERSOLE ensures that kids start each school year off with a new pair of shoes.
“Colonial Life is proud to sponsor this year’s Ambassador of the Year Award honoring Dawn Staley,” Colonial Life President and CEO Tim Arnold said. “Coach Staley has brought so much pride to the University of South Carolina and the state of South Carolina with this year’s national championship win and through her philanthropic activities. Renaming the road in front of the Colonial Life Arena as Dawn Staley Way demonstrates her lasting impact on our city.”