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Lawyer Butch Bowers on getting Dawn Staley’s contract over the line

Dawn Staley (Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Butch Bowers, a well-known Columbia, S.C. lawyer representing high-profile GOP politicians such as Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford, added sports to his resume when he signed on to help Dawn Staley negotiate her groundbreaking seven-year, $22 million contract extension last year.

Staley invited Bowers on the latest episode of NETLIFE to break down the negotiating process and give listeners insight into how her landmark contract as South Carolina women’s basketball head coach came to be.

“It wasn’t a self-serving thing,” Staley says of the extension. “It was more so, I felt, the right thing to do.”

When Staley felt that her current agent was too close to the situation to execute the risky yet necessary bump in her contract, Bowers was brought in to head up negotiations.

“It took a lot longer than I thought it would.” Bowers tells Staley. “It took a whole six months, and we were negotiating, if not every day, every week with the university.”

Bowers also remembers the congenial nature of the negotiations, despite the long and arduous process.

“At every turn, they were always in good faith,” he says. “We might have had some disagreements, but it was never nasty.”

Though the six-month timeline was longer than Bowers anticipated, Staley says she was comforted that Bowers never wavered. He was also pleased that the details of the negotiations, while extensive, were never made public.

“One of the things, to me, that is astonishing in this day in age is that, over that entire six-month period, zero leaks,” Bowers says. “Nobody knew about it until it was happening, and I was proud of that part of it.”

Ultimately, Bowers and Staley got the deal done, making her one of the highest-paid coaches in women’s basketball.

“It was an honor and a privilege to fight this fight, because it needed to be fought,” Bowers tells Staley. “You accomplished it. I was just your mechanism.”

Listen to the full conversation on NETLIFE.