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Dawn Staley says she’s ‘done’ as Team USA coach

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The basketball world knew the U.S.’s 90-75 victory over Japan on Sunday would be Sue Bird’s last, but Dawn Staley’s post-game announcement came as a surprise for many.

Staley sealed her three-decade-long career with USA Basketball in two words: “I’m done.”

The 51-year-old is the first Black coach to lead the U.S. team and is the second woman to win a gold medal as a player, assistant coach, and finally as a head coach, after the late Anne Donovan.

Every single time Staley has gone to the Olympic Games, she has brought home the gold — as a player in 1996, 2000, and 2004, as an assistant coach in 2008 and 2016, and now again in Tokyo as head coach.

Beyond coaching the national team, Staley has built South Carolina into a college basketball powerhouse.

A’ja Wilson, who had a spectacular Olympic debut, won an NCAA championship at South Carolina under Staley. That Wilson’s first gold medal win was under her former college coach captures just how far and wide Staley’s leadership has extended in women’s basketball.

Staley’s decision to step down means the team will need new leadership in the next major USA basketball competition, the 2022 World Cup.

After the game, the basketball legend tweeted: “Giving God all the Glory for his ever loving favor @usabasketball got the GOLD once again! On the 7th day we didn’t rest because we couldn’t. #Tokyo2020”