Dawn Michelle Staley, University of South Carolina head women’s basketball coach, has been awarded the Clementa C. Pinckney Award for Justice from the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.

Coach Staley is one of the most decorated participants in U.S. women’s basketball history and is the founder and president of Innersole, a nonprofit organization in South Carolina that provides athletic gear to children from low-income families and helps them succeed academically.

“It was an honor to meet Coach Staley and present her with the Appleseed Advocate of the Year award,” said John Kassel, partner with Kassel McVey and chairman of the board of South Carolina Appleseed.  “She embodies everything this award is about.”

During her basketball career, Coach Staley was Goodwill Games Most Valuable Player (1994), earned three Olympic Gold Medals (1996, 2000, and 2004), and received the U.S.A. Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Award (1994, 2004).  She is a seven-time all-star in the National Women’s Basketball Association, and was inducted into the National Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 1996, while coaching at Temple University, she started the Dawn Staley Foundation, an after-school program in Philadelphia for young girls from low-income families.  In 2013, she became co-founder of Innersole, which partners with local businesses in South Carolina to provide sneakers and other gear to children from low-income families. Innersole also helps children in grades three through five to excel in academics, attendance, behavior, and physical fitness.

Each fall, the SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center honors an individual who has been a tireless advocate for low-income South Carolinians.  The Center is a nonprofit organization that provides legal and other assistance to low-income individuals and families and helps them overcome social, economic, and legal injustice.

This year, the Center officially named its Advocate of the Year award as the Clementa C. Pinckney Award for Justice. Coach Staley is the first recipient of the newly named award.

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