By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer

Dawn Staley helped guide South Carolina to No. 1 and has earned coach of the year honors from the Associated Press.

The Hall of Fame coach led the Gamecocks to a 32-1 record including wins over 8 top 25 ranked teams.

The former Temple head coach has a winning percentage of .726 in the Southeastern Conference, second only to the late Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s cliche as I represent the best team in the country and our coaching staff and our support staff, our trainers and everybody. It’s great,” she the Philadelphia native. “It’s something that we haven’t been able to celebrate, but we will celebrate it together at a later time.”

She has also coached the Olympic two times under UCONN’s Geo Auriemma. She also has won Olympic gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Overall, she collected 10 gold medals and one bronze while competing with Team USA internationally.