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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.

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.

In addition to completing the program’s first undefeated season 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. She and the Gamecocks have posted a 97-3 record in their last 100 games.

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)

Jordan Kaye contributed to this report.