Dawn Staley has no intention of skipping White House visit: ‘It’s what national champions do’

South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley holds the trophy after the Gamecocks' 67-55 win over Mississippi State in the NCAA women's championship game in Dallas on April 2.
(Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)

Dawn Staley has finally won an NCAA national championship, and she intends on celebrating the way many champions do — by visiting the White House.

“Yeah, I’m going to the White House,” the South Carolina coach told the Associated Press after her team defeated Mississippi State, 67-55, in the NCAA women’s title game Sunday. “It’s what it stands for. It’s what national champions do. We’ll go to the White House.”

Weeks after President Trump took office back in January, several members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots said they would stay away when their team makes the traditional visit. “I don’t feel welcome in that house,” LeGarrette Blount said.


For Staley, this opportunity is a long time coming. As a player for Virginia from 1988 to 1992, she led the Cavaliers to three Final Four appearances and one championship game, but never a national title.

Staley, who is the second African American coach to win an NCAA women’s basketball championship, did get to visit the White House during the George W. Bush administration after helping the U.S. win Olympic gold in 2004. And she is friends with former President Clinton, who tweeted his congratulations following the Gamecocks’ victory on Sunday.

A’ja Wilson, who led South Carolina with 23 points against Mississippi State, said she would embrace the honor of a White House visit as well.

“I’ve never really been to the White House. It should be exciting to go with this group of girls,” she said. “We’re going to have fun, so I’m excited. Honestly, I’m just going to go and enjoy the moment, just take it all in. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why not enjoy it?”


Twitter: @chewkiii