Sydney Springs
Category: 2023 College Winner

Sydney Springs

To anyone who claims to be a fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks, Dawn Staley is a hero. There are few people who have contributed to sports as much as Dawn Staley has to women’s basketball. As someone who has been a Gamecock fan her entire life, I see Dawn Staley as a role model to anyone who has large aspirations, especially little girls.

Dawn Staley is the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks Women’s Basketball team. She has led the Gamecocks to break records, shatter expectations, and accomplish incredible feats. Staley has accomplished amazing things as a head coach at the University of South Carolina such as 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, six SEC Tournament championships, five 30-win seasons, two No. 1 recruiting classes, two National Coach of the Year awards, and two National Championship wins, and is currently leading her team to the 2023 Final Four and hopefully another National Championship. Those are just her Gamecock coaching accolades, as she has coached two Olympic gold medal teams. If I wanted to go on to list all her accomplishments as a player, I would far exceed my word count, but that only emphasizes what an outstanding person Dawn Staley is.

The thing about Dawn Staley that stands out the most isn’t her awards or accomplishments, it’s her attitude. She doesn’t shy away from hard work and does it with humility. As a student at the University of South Carolina, it’s reassuring to know someone so virtuous represents our school. It also acts as a motivator. Dawn Staley has been working hard her entire life. Look where that hard work has gotten her! As a young woman and a Gamecock, I have been inspired to work hard to accomplish my goals. One of Dawn Staleys most notable quotes involves hard work. She said, “A lot of people notice when you succeed, but they don’t see what it takes to get there.”

I believe that working hard is important, but working for excellence is truly embracing Dawn Staley’s life motto. It’s easy to do something that’s hard, but it goes a step further to do something that is hard and strive to do it well. There is no better way to honor the athletic legend that is Staley than by doing hard work well. It’s easy to want to get through college quickly and with as little hard work as possible, but that’s not the right way of doing it. In order to build muscle, you have to consistently lift heavy weights. Lifting weights that you might consider to be light won’t help you gain muscle mass, heavy weights will. The same principle can be applied to other areas of my life. Hard work produces results. I am going to dedicate myself to hard work because that is exactly what Gamecock great Dawn Staley does. I’m proud to be a Gamecock because Dawn Staley is a Gamecock.