South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley won her second NCAA Championship in five years on Sunday night when South Carolina defeated UConn 64-49.
In doing so, Staley etched her name into the history books and solidified her place as one of the game’s biggest and most important personalities.
Unfortunately, a viral side plot stole the show from an otherwise masterful showing by Staley: her insanely expensive Louis Vuitton letterman jacket and matching shoes.
The $4,850 wardrobe choice largely speaks for itself:
Dawn Staley is coaching the national title in a $4,850 Louis Vuitton jacket and matching shoes 👀 pic.twitter.com/9izFcTfnR3
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 4, 2022
While some absolutely loved Staley’s move, others seemed deeply upset by it:
Dawn Staley’s jacket is a travesty.
— Shane (@Shane68131689) April 4, 2022
I don’t love how causal big time coaches dress now a days? Dawn Staley coaching in a national championship wearing a letterman jacket?
— Cody Lowe (@codylowe88) April 4, 2022
@Outkick360 @TheChadWithrow Why in the world is Dawn Staley wearing a green and white letterman jacket that has no insignia of South Carolina on it nor no trace of garnet and black?? Weird choice to make such an obscure wardrobe choice on your team’s biggest night
— Flannel Fred (@PlazFan) April 4, 2022
@dawnstaley How about you wear some decent clothes for a national championship game. Sweat pants and Varsity jacket with your liberal ass mask. Come on classless.
— Doug DeRose (@DougDeRose) April 4, 2022
Of course, not everyone felt this way. Other folks seemed to be big fans of the jacket and what it represented:
idk if it’s a bomber or a letter jacket or what but Dawn Staley never stops bringing it.
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) April 4, 2022
— DARIUS ALFORD (@IAMDARIUSALFORD) April 4, 2022
Someone pls tell all these middle aged white guys 2 things:
1. Dawn Staley played on and coached USA Gold Medal teams. What have you done for your country but whine?
2. The jacket is fashion. Look it up.
— Dr. Kathy McKean (@kmckean1) April 4, 2022
Dawn Staley coaching a national title game in a nearly 5K Louis V jacket. That is a level of swag I aspire for. pic.twitter.com/EHEa1CYNcd
— Zach Seidel (@Seidel_Z) April 4, 2022
This isn’t the first time in recent months a women’s college basketball coach has landed in the headlines for her provocative outfit choice.
Interestingly enough, Staley’s pick of jacket wasn’t the lone South Carolina move that drew the ire of some fans. There was also this photo of them seemingly boycotting the national anthem last week.
Not sure why South Carolina wasn’t around for National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/wZ3LTuPLoD
— Mark Hebert (@markhebert502) April 1, 2022
In a January 2021 conversation, Staley admitted that she wanted to “bring awareness to racial injustice in our country.”
That said, she made it a point to highlight that this came from a deep love of the United States.
“I love our country, too,” she said at the time. “I don’t like what our country has come to, or what our country has been, but I’d like to think that there are people in our country that’s going to lead us more in a unified way than a divisive way, and I’m here for that.”
Big picture, Staley now has the sort of profile in collegiate basketball that can’t be denied. Anything she says or does will be headline news – because she has earned that level of notoriety and respect.
In a college basketball season that has seen an Arizona star get involved in a bizarre groping controversy, an ESPN cameraman consistently and without shame zoom in on a cheerleader’s butt and a troubling scandal involving a player and cheerleader, this jacket thing seems like a fairly insignificant brouhaha.
Paige VanZant’s still got it. https://t.co/ne1hY2yjL7
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 4, 2022
More likely than not, folks will move past it fairly quickly. Not that Staley seems to care much, one way or the other.
What will the South Carolina coach ultimately go viral for next? Time will tell.