January 19, 2016 |
Rick Yankowitz remembers when the Dobbins Tech basketball gymnasiums were both jam-packed with fans - more than 550 in a small space. In those days, the boys' coach from 1971 until 2005 said the bleachers and balconies were filled to capacity with people standing on window sills to catch a glance. Other, more nimble, followers climbed ropes - there for physical education classes - that were fastened to the ceiling and sat up there to watch games. It was the mid- to late 1980s, and Mustangs basketball was the hottest ticket in North Philly.
April 6, 2015 |
About to coach in her first women's Final Four, Dawn Staley took time out the other day to tell people on Twitter that she had finally taken down her Christmas tree. It had been a running joke between Staley and her 25,000 followers about her still having the tree up. After a suitable pause, after one Gamecocks fan noted her inspiration was enough to take their own tree down, came Staley's next tweet: "APRIL FOOLS on taking down the xmas tree . . . Gotcha!!!" Laughing emoticons took up the rest of Staley's 140 characters.
April 3, 2015 |
For Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, it was making the national tournament while playing for St. Joseph's. For South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, it was perfecting a difficult bank shot near 23d and Diamond Streets near her North Philadelphia home. For Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, the Philly experience was a little murkier to recall. Regardless, three of the most accomplished people in women's college basketball history began their legendary basketball careers in the Philadelphia area.
April 2, 2015 |
Her first shots were with socks into a heating vent, squaring off against her brothers, before Dawn Staley graduated to a cardboard backboard concocted outside. The next upgrade was to a crate hooked up to a light pole at 23d and Diamond streets in North Philadelphia. "She used to hit bank shots off the crate - I don't know how she could do that," said her older brother Eric Staley, standing early Tuesday evening at the courts at 25th and Diamond, a piece of asphalt where his sister Dawn really first made her name.
February 11, 2015 |
STORRS, Conn. - It seemed like the rest of the state was closed. Morning anchors talked about how there was no place left to put any snow. Inside Gampel Pavilion? It was game on as soon as a charter arrived from South Carolina the day before and ESPN's truck showed up. Fans were told they could donate their tickets to students if they couldn't make it. Forget it. Whatever toboggan they needed to get here, they got here. It doesn't happen often, the chance for Geno Auriemma's Connecticut Huskies to even feign to be underdogs.
December 8, 2014 |
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Dawn Staley doesn't wear her team's ranking on her face. Even as her South Carolina Gamecocks built a sustainable lead Thursday against Charlotte, the coach looked annoyed. Holding a stat sheet given to her at the previous timeout, Staley glanced at it, rolled it up, opened it for another glance, and rolled it up again. So what if she's coaching the top-ranked women's college basketball team in the country? Too many turnovers were staring her in the face. The most accomplished female athlete in Philadelphia history, the great point guard of her era, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, now 44, remains on the search for higher ground.
September 12, 2014 |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The irony of Dawn Staley being, as Connecticut and U.S. women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said, "one of the best young coaches in the world," is that had the Philadelphia hoops icon followed her original post-playing career plans, she would not be an assistant on the 2014 U.S. Women's World Championship team or the head coach at South Carolina. In 2000, as her WNBA career was winding down, Staley contemplated a move into broadcasting or a front-office position with a team as the next phase of her basketball journey.
August 20, 2014 |
The most accomplished female athlete Philadelphia has ever produced was back in the city this weekend, witnessing Taney Fever firsthand. How could Dawn Staley miss it? "It's amazing," Staley, still in town, said over the phone Monday morning. "I was at Fairmount Park watching my brother play softball yesterday; I sat back and listened to conversations. " She meant the ones about the Taney Dragons Little League team and pitcher Mo'ne Davis. "They were breaking it down," Staley said.
March 7, 2014 |
March 7, 2014 |
Dawn Staley kept saying no. In fact, Staley said, she had never given much thought to coaching before Temple athletic director Dave O'Brien reached out to her in 2000 through a mutual friend. At the time, Staley, Philadelphia's women's basketball icon, was still active in the WNBA, and destined to be the point guard in that year's Sydney Olympics. Since Staley was in town for that year's Final Four, O'Brien asked if she would mind coming over to campus for a talk. "I just felt like I needed to go speak with him and tell him no face-to-face," Staley said Tuesday afternoon.