Texas' Steve Sarkisian 'very impressed' by Dawn Staley amid push to get Longhorns over the hump

Texas’ Steve Sarkisian ‘very impressed’ by Dawn Staley amid push to get Longhorns over the hump

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Former WNBA great and current South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley secured the program’s third national championship this past Sunday. 

Staley has coached the women’s basketball team to an impressive 109-3 record over the past three seasons, winning two titles over that span. The Gamecocks reached the Final Four last season, where they were eliminated by Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Sunday’s highly-anticipated matchup between South Carolina and Iowa attracted record viewership. Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian was among the millions of viewers who watched Staley coach the Gamecocks to victory.


Steve Sarkisian coaches Texas

Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Texas Longhorns looks on during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies during the CFP Semifinal Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome on January 01, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

South Carolina is a longstanding member of the Southeastern Conference, the same conference the Longhorns are set to join next season. Sarkisian appears to be drawing inspiration from Staley’s successful run in the SEC and beyond.

“I watched both games. I watched both tournaments, quite frankly,” Sarkisian said, via “And I think what coach [Dawn] Staley has done has been obviously very impressive in that she’s assembled talent year after year, but she’s got her culture for sure, and it’s in place. She instills it in them.”

“She had a whole new team this year, and they went out and won every game. And last year they lose in the semis, they couldn’t get it done,” Sarkisian continued. “So very impressed with what she’s been able to do.”


Sarkisian said he is “striving” to reach a level of success that is similar to what Staley has achieved in Columbia, South Carolina.

Dawn Staley gets the confetti

Dawn Staley of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates as the confetti falls after beating Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on April 07, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Sarkisian coached Texas to an 11-1 regular season record, a Big 12 Conference title, and a berth in the College Football Playoffs semifinals. But, Texas ultimately came up short, losing to the Washington Huskies.

“We’re always all striving for that and looking at those great teams that do it at a high, high level,” Sarkisian added. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of some great teams in that era with Pete Carroll, so it’s not a one-time thing. You’ve got to continually work on the things that are important to you to recreate it year after year after year.”

Steve Sarkisian looks on during a game

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian watches the run of play during the Allstate Sugar Bowl playoff game between the Texas Longhorns and the Washington Huskies on Monday, January 1, 2024 at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA. 

Sarkisian was also complementary of UConn coach Dan Hurley, who secured a second consecutive national title on the men’s side on Monday night.

“And very impressed with what coach Hurley has been able to do. I think he lost three or four NBA players off last year’s team.”


Sarkisian credited both Staley and Hurley for their respective abilities to “coach hard.”

“But one thing that is very clear in both of them. I’d say two things,” Sarkisian said. “The first is they coach hard. There’s not for a second, you watch their interaction with their players, where they’re not coaching them hard. And they’re demanding of their players. But you can also feel the love coming from them with their players.”

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