WNBA Announces Creation of The Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award
NEW YORK, November 7, 2006 Beginning in 2007, the WNBA will present the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award to the player who best exemplifies the characteristics of a leader in the community in which she works or lives, it was announced today by WNBA President Donna Orender. The award will reflect Staleys contagious leadership, spirit, charitable efforts and love for the game.
Dawn Staley possesses an unbelievable passion for basketball and for giving back to the community in the hope of inspiring young lives, said Orender. As a player and coach she has continually looked to support and impact the dreams of young people. Womens basketball is certainly richer for her many contributions, but so are the lives of the many people Dawn has reached out to in her hometown of Philadelphia and in the cities where she has played, Charlotte and Houston. It is only fitting that the WNBA create an award that celebrates her spirit of generosity and character.
The Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award will be presented annually following each regular season to the one player who has demonstrated a continued dedication to charitable and community causes through significant contributions of time and effort. Each WNBA team will nominate one player and a designated committee will select the winner. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to the winners charity of choice.
A true legend in WNBA and womens basketball history, Staley has excelled at the highest levels on the court and has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities not only as a point guard and coach, but also as a philanthropist and humanitarian. Staley retired following the 2006 season after eight seasons in the WNBA.
A five-time WNBA All-Star, Staley has established herself as one of the greatest ambassadors in womens basketball history. Her legacy includes winning three Olympic Gold Medals, being named a member of the WNBAs All-Decade Team, a two-time winner of the WNBAs Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, flag bearer for the USAs delegation during the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics and Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Staley, head coach of the Temple University Womens Basketball Team since 2001, also currently serves as an assistant coach for the USA Basketball Senior National Team. Named the National Player of the Year in both 1991 and 1992 while at the University of Virginia, Staley is just one of two players in NCAA Tournament history to be selected as the NCAA Final Four Outstanding Player and later coach a team in the Tournament.
In addition to her on court successes, she created the Dawn Staley Foundation in the fall of 1996. The Philadelphia native felt compelled to give something back to the community that enabled her to achieve success both on the basketball court and in life.
The Dawn Staley Foundation's mission is to create a future of hope for at-risk youth by providing opportunities that help them realize their dreams and become productive and responsible citizens. The creation and support of educational and sports programs which challenge minds, build character, and help youth to develop to their fullest potential academically, socially and physically are the essence of the foundation. To achieve its mission, the foundation supports a variety of programs including an after school program, summer basketball league and mentoring programs for girls, as well as "Day in the Park," an annual daylong community celebration in North Philadelphia.
About the WNBA
In 2006, the WNBA concluded its historic tenth season with an action-packed WNBA Finals. The 2006 WNBA Finals presented by Vonage capped a playoff run in which the WNBA saw significant increases in attendance and viewership. The Finals, which aired live on ESPN2, saw the Detroit Shock top the Sacramento Monarchs in the first WNBA Finals match up ever to go to a fifth and deciding game.
Average attendance for the 2006 Finals was up +28% compared to a year ago while average attendance for the playoffs overall increased by +16%. The historic Game 5 featured a sellout crowd of 19,671 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI, the second largest crowd in WNBA Finals history. These increases followed closely on the heels of a strong second half of the regular season in which attendance throughout the league rose nearly 12% after the All-Star break. Television viewership also increased during the Finals. Detroit's Game 4 win at Sacramento was the second-most watched WNBA game in ESPN2 history and average viewership for the 2006 Finals was up +11% over that of 2005. As the preeminent women's sports league, the WNBA, which features 14 teams, is the destination for the best women's basketball players in the world. For more information, visit wnba.com.