New contract coming for Dawn Staley at South Carolina? Here’s what we know

After a historic undefeated season and third national championship, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley could be due for a big payday.

“Certainly we’ve had some conversations since the season ended — about her future, too,” USC athletic director Ray Tanner told The State when asked about a possible extension for Staley.

There’s no known timetable for any extension to be finalized, but practice for the 2024-25 season begins in about four months. If Staley lands a new contract, it’s not unrealistic to expect it to make her the highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball.

She entered the fourth year of a seven-year contact on April 16. Her current deal runs through the 2027-28 season and has her tied with UConn’s Geno Auriemma as the sport’s second-highest paid coach. They both rank behind LSU’s Kim Mulkey, who signed a 10-year, $32 million extension in September — the richest deal in women’s college basketball history.

In addition to completing the program’s first undefeated season (38-0) and bringing a third national championship home to Columbia, Staley earned her second unanimous and fourth overall national coach of the year honor in 2024.

“I didn’t think we’d lose many games because they were so good and she’s iconic,” Tanner said. “She’s a Hall of Fame coach. But to run the table? I mean, she ran the table. That was one of the most impressive things that I’ll remember during my tenure as an athletic director.”

Staley contract history with Gamecocks

When Staley’s most recent extension (seven years for $22.4 million) was approved in 2021, she was the highest-paid coach in the SEC, surpassing Mulkey, who made $2.505 million her first season with the Tigers. Staley’s salary for the 2021-22 season started at $2.9 million, jumped to $3.1 million for this past year and is scheduled to increase to $3.5 million in 2027-28.

Before that last extension, Staley was set to earn $1.8 million for the 2021-22 season, discounting any bonuses for postseason accomplishments, in a contract that maxed out at $2.1 million annually.

In 2018, South Carolina also started contributing $300,000 annually toward a split-dollar life insurance program — a total of $1.5 million plus interest — that became Staley’s on Sept. 21, 2022.

Her original contract when hired in 2008 paid her $650,000 a year.

She and the Gamecocks have posted a 109-3 record over their last three seasons.

Staley has long been regarded as one of the most accomplished coaches in USC history. After the 2023-24 season, she solidified herself as one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of the sport.

Current Dawn Staley contract, salary breakdown

  • Year 1: $2.9 million (Oct. 1, 2021 to April 15, 2022)

  • Year 2: $3 million (April 16, 2022 to April 15, 2023)

  • Year 3: $3.1 million (April 16, 2023 to April 15, 2024)

  • Year 4: $3.2 million (April 16, 2024 to April 15, 2025)

  • Year 5: $3.3 million (April 16, 2025 to April 15, 2026)

  • Year 6: $3.4 million (April 16, 2026 to April 15, 2027)

  • Year 7: $3.5 million (April 16, 2027 to April 15, 2028)

The State’s Jordan Kaye contributed to this report.