USC Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley said she has gained many new friends since moving to Congaree Park on West Columbia’s Riverwalk.
“The people of West Columbia are great and I love living on the river,” Staley said.
The City of West Columbia gave Staley the key to the city, Monday at a reception held on the grounds of West Columbia City Hall. The city council also recognized Staley in a resolution and Mayor Tem Miles said every May 4, Staley’s birthday, will be known as Dawn Staley Day in West Columbia.
Staley, a neighbor to West Columbia City Councilman Joseph Dickey, said she walks on Riverwalk almost every day. She also said she has gained new friends during her walks with her dog Champ.
Staley’s USC team has won a National Championship and she coached the USA Women’s National team to a gold medal in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. Her Gamecock teams have won several SEC Championships and have been to three Final Fours. Staley is also in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and she was named the Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year when she was a player at the University of Virginia.
Miles praised Staley for her contributions off the court, too. She co-founded Innersole, a nonprofit organization that provides new sneakers to homeless children and children who are in need.
West Columbia Councilman Mickey Pringle said when he was the principal at Denmark-Olar High School, Staley brought shoes to the kids there. He said Staley did not think she brought enough shoes to fill the need.
“She came back with more shoes for the middle school and elementary school students, too,” Pringle said.
Staley said she will continue to live on the river and “enjoy the heartbeat of West Columbia.”