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Dawn Staley will get a unique honor: Her own statue in Columbia

The bronze replica made of her that will be placed at the corner of Main and Gervais Street in Downtown Columbia.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Women's Basketball Coach Dawn Staley will be the next Gamecocks basketball legend to get a statue of her likeness in Columbia. 

A spokesperson for Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann confirmed to News19 Wednesday that Staley will have a bronze replica made of her that will be placed at the corner of Main and Gervais Street in downtown Columbia. That's right across the street from the South Carolina State House. 

The spokesperson said Rickenmann was approached by a group called Statues for Equality, an organization that seeks to increase the number of statues of women across the country, to focus on their contributions to society. They asked the mayor who would be a powerful woman in Columbia with a unique legacy and impact. His first suggestion was Staley.

The city decided on the proposed location because it's so prominent in the city and would be a place where people visiting could easily see it. 

Staley, of course, has been the head coach of the University of South Carolina's women's basketball team since 2008. In her tenure she's turned the team into a national powerhouse that's already won two NCAA national championships and is seeking a third this season. 

She's also a former college All-American, a gold medalist as both a player and a coach, and a former WNBA All-Star. She's widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed names in the history of her sport.

Staley has also been outspoken on social issues, including in the wake of the George Floyd police killing in 2020 and the recent imprisonment and release of basketball star Britney Griner in Russia. 

The expense of creating the statue will be split between Statues for Equality and the other by private donations, with no use of taxpayer dollars. It's expected to be about twice the size of Staley, who stands 5 feet 6 inches tall.

The city is waiting on a rendering of the statue and Staley will get final approval on that design. Once she signs off on it, it will take 10 to 12 months to cast the bronze model. 

She becomes the second Gamecock women's legend to get a statue in Columbia. In 2021, the university erected a statue of A'ja Wilson in front of the Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks' home court. Wilson was a national college player of the year with the Gamecocks and helped lead them to the 2017 national title. 

The Columbia native is currently a member of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, where she's already been named player of the year and won a league title. 

News of the Dawn Staley statue was first reported in The State Newspaper. 

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