Dawn Staley talks South Carolina contract extension with Alex English

(Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley made headlines last October when she signed a historic contract extension with the school, making her one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in the country.

On the latest episode of NETLIFE, Staley takes listeners behind the scenes of the negotiations for her seven-year, $22.4 million contract during a sitdown conversation with South Carolina Board of Trustees member Alex English.

As a South Carolina native, a celebrated Gamecocks basketball player in the 1970s and a former NBA star, English understands the sport as well as the culture of the school. Now on the university’s Board of Trustees, English says it’s his role to “represent the constituents” and a “diverse population.” The basketball Hall of Famer was also intimately involved in Staley’s contract extension talks.

“We get to vote on it, we get to comment on the people that are being considered,” English says on the podcast, “but the athletic director is the one that does the hiring.”

English says the decision to hire Staley as head coach in 2008 was unanimous, and keeping her in Columbia has been a point of pride for him.

“I am so happy that we were able to retain you,” he tells her. “If nothing else ever happens good in my Board of Trustees tenure, the fact that I was on the board when they selected you to be our coach, until you decide to leave, I am proud of that.”

To both English and Staley, her contract extension signals a broader shift in women’s basketball culture.

“It was certainly a monumental opportunity for us here in South Carolina,” Staley says. “A lot of people look at it as me, but it’s for the greater good for our sport, for our state, for our city, for women.

“I’m proud to represent South Carolina.”

Listen to the full conversation with English and Staley on the latest episode of NETLIFE.