COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 21, 2017) – Coming off historic runs through the NCAA Tournament, the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees has approved new contracts for head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin and head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley, it was announced today.
Martin, who guided the Gamecocks to their first Final Four in program history, had one year added to his deal, extending his contract through the 2022-23 campaign, while Staley, who led the Gamecocks to their first National Championship in women’s basketball, received a four-year extension through the 2024-25 season.
“Not only did Frank Martin and Dawn Staley lead their teams to record-setting seasons, but through their leadership, teaching and development of student-athletes, they have established highly successful all-around college basketball programs,” said Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “I believe that through the core principle of growing the student-athlete experience, Frank and Dawn are set for continued success in their programs for years to come.”
Martin’s team has steadily improved in each of the five years under his direction, advancing to the first Final Four in school history in 2017, while posting a school record 26 wins along the way. Following the record-setting campaign, Martin earned Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year honors. South Carolina tallied 25 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history and the Gamecocks posted double-digit league wins in consecutive seasons (11 in 2016, 12 in 2017) for just the second time in its 26 seasons in the SEC. Under his direction, several Gamecocks have earned postseason accolades, highlighted this season by Sindarius Thornwell’s nod as the SEC Player of the Year and First-Team All-America honors by CBSSports.com. South Carolina advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 2004 this March, and posted its first Tournament win since 1973 in a 93-73 victory over Marquette. The Gamecocks went on to defeat three of the top four seeds in the East Region – No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida – en route to the school’s first Final Four.
“Since Frank has been at South Carolina, he has continued building a program that has seen increased success each season,” noted Tanner. “I believe his team’s Final Four run is representative of the foundation that he has used to build our program. Frank’s caring for his student-athletes is something that I think will help sustain his successes here for a long time.”
“I can’t express how grateful I am to know the trust and belief that Dr. Pastides, Ray Tanner and the Board of Trustees have in me, our staff and our program,” said Martin. “My wife, Anya, our children and myself are ecstatic to continue to call Columbia our home. Continuing to build our program and help grow basketball in our state are two things that I’m excited about every day.”
In her nine seasons at the helm, Staley has built South Carolina into a perennial figure on the national stage, culminating in the 2017 National Championship. The Gamecocks are one of only three teams in the nation to appear in every AP top 10 since the start of the 2014-15 season, spending 12 weeks of that time at No. 1 – the first such ranking in program history. South Carolina has played in five of the last six NCAA Sweet 16s, including two Final Four seasons, and has won 90.1 percent of its games (128-14) over the last four seasons. In the always challenging SEC, Staley has led the Gamecocks to four straight SEC regular-season and three straight SEC Tournament titles, becoming just the second program in league history to post either such streak. While at South Carolina, Staley has produced five WNBA draft picks, including four first-round selections, four SEC Player of the Year honorees, eight All-America selections and three SEC Freshman of the Year winners.
“This contract renewal is demonstrative of Dawn’s role in building our women’s basketball program as one of the best in the nation, one that is built for sustained success,” said Tanner. “Dawn’s leadership role in athletics, as a National Championship coach and the USA Basketball coach, continues to bring a welcomed spotlight to our University. I look forward to having Dawn serve as our women’s basketball head coach for years to come.”
“I want to thank President Pastides, Ray Tanner and the Board of Trustees for their continued support of our coaches, our support staff and, most of all, our players,” said Staley. “When I first came to Columbia, it was with one goal in mind – to build a program that everyone involved could be proud of, both on and off the court. If measured by our record in the gym and the quality of character displayed by the young women who have worn the Gamecock jersey these last nine years, I believe we’ve done that. And it wouldn’t have happened without the commitment from the leadership of this great university, our incredible coaching staff and the support of our amazing fans. I’m proud of what we’ve built, proud of the women I’ve coached, proud to be part of the University of South Carolina – and proud that I will be for many years to come,” added Staley.