COLUMBIA, SC — South Carolina womens basketball coach Dawn Staley is one of three candidates for the vacant Ohio State coaching position and will interview for the job early next week, The State has learned.
USC athletics director Ray Tanner said Friday that Ohio State had contacted him about interviewing Staley, and he granted the Big Ten school permission. Staley is expected to be in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to interview, according to a source.
I cant confirm or deny that, Staley said when contacted Friday.
Staley just completed her fifth season at USC. Her teams have posted a 92-66 record, including 38-40 in the Southeastern Conference. Her past two teams advanced to the Sweet 16 and the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State fired coach Jim Foster on March 19 after 11 seasons that included six Big Ten regular-season championships, four Big Ten tournament titles and 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances until this past season.
Ohio State was 279-82 under Foster, a .722 winning percentage. He had 783 career wins at St. Josephs, Vanderbilt and Ohio State. He was a four-time Big Ten coach of the year.
We strive to be nationally competitive, executive associate athletics director Miechelle Willis told The Lantern, the Ohio State student newspaper, upon Fosters firing. We believe that we have everything in place here to be nationally competitive. We believe that means that we should be playing deep into (the postseason). We expect to be in the Final Four on occasion, and definitely the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight are expectations that we have.
Fosters Ohio State teams never advanced past the NCAA tournament round of 16.
Foster was paid a total compensation of $802,000 this past season, and his contract ran through June 30, 2018, according to The Lantern. A source said Ohio State has among the best womens basketball facilities in the country.
Staley earned a raise in 2012 that brought her annual total compensation to $725,000. Her contract runs through 2016. At that time, her buyout was reduced from $400,000 to $200,000.
When Staley was hired in 2008, Eric Hyman, then the athletics director who hired her, said her salary met the market value for her sport.
Although Staley has not said so publicly, a possible downside to her USC job is the state NAACPs Confederate flag boycott that annually prevents her team from playing home games in the NCAA tournament.
The NCAA plays the first two rounds of the womens tournament on home courts. The past two seasons, as a No. 4 and No. 5 seed, USC has traveled to West Lafayette, Ind., and Boulder, Colo., for the opening two rounds. Had it been allowed to do so, USC could have bid for two rounds of home courts.
Staleys teams have shown steady progress at USC with records of 10-18, 14-15, 18-15, 25-10 and 25-8 with SEC records of 2-12, 7-9, 8-8, 10-6 and 11-5. A setback to the program occurred following the 2009-10 season when 6-foot-4 center Kelsey Bone, considered one of the nations top recruit out of high school, transferred to Texas A&M.
Staley rebounded with solid recruiting classes and landed one of the nations best high school post players for next season in 6-foot-4 Alaina Coates of Dutch Fork High.