Staley guides US to another gold using calm demeanor
By DOUG FEINBERG
AP Basketball Writer
Monday, October 1
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA, Spain (AP) — Dawn Staley knows the pressure that comes with coaching USA Basketball. It’s gold medal or bust.
She experienced it first as a player with the U.S., then as an assistant and now as the team’s head coach. She’s been successful in each position, helping the Americans win gold.
“Dawn’s demeanor is so calm and confident I think that helped us,” said four-time World Cup gold medalist Sue Bird after the U.S. beat Australia to win a third straight World Cup title. “I think that helped us. … Dawn, the entire time, was saying you know what, we’re worried about guarding them, but they had to worry about guarding us, too. It put it into a nice perspective and allowed us to be calm and that’s what we needed.”
Staley helped guide the U.S. to an unprecedented third straight World Cup gold medal on Sunday night with the 73-56 win.
“It’s USA Basketball, if you’re part of it more times than not you’re going to win especially with players like Sue, Diana (Taurasi) and Stewie coming back,” Staley said.
Even with the collection of stars assembled on the U.S. roster, Staley knows it’s not as simple as showing up. The World Cup is a grueling tournament with six games in nine days. The Americans will always get everyone else’s best shot.
“No matter how many times you’ve been a part of it, the pressure is still there,” she said. “When you look in the players’ eyes. I knew Diana when we hit the semifinals, she took on a whole different look. When your best players gave that look you get out of the way. As the game progresses the pressure releases itself.”
Staley inherited a team that had won two straight World titles and 16 consecutive games in the tournament. The U.S. had gone 94-1 since the 1996 Olympics in major international competitions. She had been part of many of those wins as a player. Now’s she kept the unbelievable run going as a coach.
“The expectation is whenever It’s your first time, it’s way different from being a player to coaching,” said Geno Auriemma, who coached the U.S. to the previous two world titles. “Winning that first gold medal, I don’t care who you are, it’s hard. There’s no escaping that. She’s done a great job of staying with the system and staying level-headed.”
Next up for Staley and the U.S. will be the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While the pressure will be the same, winning another gold will be a bit easier in a way, as the final three rounds aren’t played on three straight days like they are at the World Cup.
“It’s always the hardest one to win,” Taurasi said. “Physically tough, mentally tough. Playing three games in three nights you don’t do that anymore in the pros. It’s the only tournament that challenges you in that way.”
Taurasi credited the way Staley played when they both were on the U.S. team in the early 2000s for helping set a tone that she’s continued with Bird on the present team.
“She did it in such a way that Sue and I said that’s how you become a pro and win a gold medal,” Taurasi said. “That comes from Dawn and what she put into this team a long time ago.”
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An Innovative Collaboration among the Sports and Suicide Prevention Sectors to Advance Social Change in the U.S.
Announcing a partnership to harness the power of sport to prevent suicide and promote mental wellness
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) – the nation’s only public-private partnership aimed at advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention – announced a unique partnership with Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, supports and celebrates the use of sport to drive sustainable social change in communities around the world. Research shows that a range of social impacts are associated with both culture and sport engagement. This innovative collaboration brings together a leading sports partner and a national suicide prevention partner to leverage the power of sport to promote suicide prevention and mental wellness.
Suicide rates in the U.S. have increased sharply between 1999 and 2016 across all age, gender, race and ethnicity—unlike many other top causes of death which have declined. Given the suicide rates have significantly increased over the past 17 years, using outside-the-box approaches to address mental wellness and suicide prevention is more pressing now than ever.
Beyond Sport and the Action Alliance will bring together the U.S. sporting industry with national suicide prevention experts to share best practices for suicide prevention and mental health promotion, and to leverage the positive cultural influence of sports to promote mental wellness and advance suicide prevention. Sports organizations involved in this effort will be able to:
strengthen and develop their own mental health initiatives;
learn about additional potential partners, issues, and solutions;
connect with suicide prevention experts;
and support national efforts aimed at driving innovation in mental wellness and suicide prevention.
To better address the root causes of suicidal behavior and mental health challenges requires innovative and ground-breaking collaborations. Additionally, working together, this partnership aims to change the national conversations about mental wellness and suicide prevention from ones that in the past focused heavily on death and despair to ones that instead highlight stories of hope and healing.
“The good news is that people—athletes included—are starting to talk openly talk about suicide and mental health—just like we talk about physical health issues like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.” said Colleen Carr, Director of the Action Alliance. “We look forward to partnering with leaders in sport to further elevate these stories of hope and healing to make an impact in national suicide prevention efforts.”
With its influence and reach, sport has the ability to address many of these issues in communities by sharing a healthy message about help, healing, and prevention.
“We believe that the power sport has can truly make a positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans. In order to save lives in this country, we must convene the right partners and have the right platform to harness that power,” said Lex Chalat, Managing Director, Beyond Sport. “So we’re thrilled to be working with the Action Alliance to bring together the world of sport to explore how we can best tackle today’s most pressing issues.”
At the recent Beyond Sport United Conference in New York City, the Action Alliance hosted a roundtable discussion that convened influential leaders from the NBA, MLB, Atlantic57 and mental health related sports organizations to discuss the how the sport industry can support suicide prevention efforts. This one-of-a-kind partnership will build on what is already happening in the sport and suicide prevention sectors so to amplify the power of collaboration and generate a greater impact on suicide prevention and mental wellness efforts in the U.S.
NATIONAL ACTION ALLIANCE FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION:
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides funding to EDC to operate and manage the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which was launched in 2010. Learn more at actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following the Action Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Founded in 2008, Beyond Sport is the leading global force for sustainable social change through sport, instilling insight, energy and impact in communities around the world. The organization does this through convening, supporting and advising the worlds of sport, business, government and development on how sport can be used as a tool to achieve both social and business objectives. Since 2009, the Beyond Sport Foundation has provided over $8 million worth of funding and support to projects across six continents addressing a range of social issues; commissioned six research projects with leading universities, corporations and the United Nations; facilitated ground-breaking action in child protection, girl’s education, urban communities, sustainability, STEM education and sports role in supporting refugees; and built sustainable sport courts in disadvantaged communities around the world. Beyond Sport’s global network encompasses 2700 organizations in more than 150 countries using sport as a catalyst for change. beyondsport.org