How Dawn Staley defended her ‘if you don’t believe in God’ comment ahead of Final Four

CLEVELAND – South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley addressed a controversial comment after winning the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year on Wednesday.

After South Carolina defeated Oregon State to advance to the Final Four on Sunday, Staley spoke to ESPN’s Holly Rowe about her faith playing a role in her coaching.

“God is really funny,” Staley said. “He’s really funny. The devastating loss that we had last year, he put us back here with a totally different team.


South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley communicates with players during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 74-54. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

If you don’t believe in God, something is wrong with you. Seriously! I’m a believer. I’m a believer because he makes things come true. When you’re at your worst, he’s at his best. Look at him!”


Staley said her belief comes in part from great things happening to her. She said it’s more than just hard work because everyone works hard.

“If I said, ‘If you don’t watch women’s basketball, there’s something seriously wrong with you,’ would you take it as threatening as somebody took the other one?” Staley said.

“It’s a figure of speech. If you can’t comprehend that then tune me out. I’m not here to offend anybody.”hip?

Staley added that people who are hearing about the interview secondhand can have their take, but she won’t apologize for what she feels.

“I know my life and I know why things have happened in my life,” Staley said. “I’m going to salute God as much as I can because I know it’s not just my doing.”

Evan Gerike covers South Carolina women’s basketball for the Greenville News. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanGerike.





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