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Staley to Lead 2014 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team
Women's Basketball  . 

Staley to Lead 2014 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team

Feb. 26, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – Three-time Olympic gold medalist and University of South Carolina head mentor Dawn Staley has been named head coach for the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, and collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico (University of Michigan) and Jeff Walz (University of Louisville) will assist her on the USA sideline. The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. “Dawn Staley has had tremendous success at every level both as a player and as a coach,” said Jim Foster, chair of the USA Women’s Junior National Team Committee and head coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “Her commitment to USA Basketball has been consistent and long term. We look forward to working with her in her latest endeavor.

“Kim Barnes Arico has been successful at many different levels of NCAA basketball. The consistency and success of her programs has been impressive. Jeff Walz is one of the bright young minds in our game as evidenced in his success at Louisville. We’re looking forward to working with these coaches in the USA Basketball format.”

The trio will lead the USA at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (dates and site TBA), which will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.

A fixture on USA Basketball teams nearly every year from 1989-2004 during her playing career, Staley joined the USA sideline as a Women’s National Team assistant coach for the USA at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, the 2006 FIBA World Championship and the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. As a USA Basketball head coach, Staley helped lead the 2010 USA Select Team that trained against the USA Women’s National Team, and she guided the USA to a gold medal and 5-0 record at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Currently in the midst of her sixth season (2008-09 to present) as head coach at the University of South Carolina, where she has compiled a 117-68 (.632) overall record (all records as of Feb. 26), Dawn Staley already has secured her third-straight 25-win season. Staley and her Gamecocks are an impressive 25-2 thus far in 2013-14 and have clinched at least a share of the program’s first Southeastern Conference regular season championship.

“I appreciate every opportunity I have to work with USA Basketball, an organization that I’ve worked with for almost half of my life,” Staley said. “I’m honored to be chosen and look forward to a different experience working with such a young group of athletes but in an organization I’m very familiar with.

“We’ve had some preliminary meet-and-greets over text messaging, but I look forward to working with both of them,” Staley said of her coaching staff. “I think both will have program insight that will ultimately help us win the gold medal.” Both assistant coaches will undertake their first USA Basketball coaching experience.

After 10 years as the head coach at St. John’s University, Barnes Arico finished her first season as the head coach at Michigan in 2012-13 with 22-11 record, which was a program record for wins, and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament second round. Thus far in 2013-14, the Wolverines are 17-11.

“It has always been a dream of mine to be involved with USA Basketball and represent our country,” Barnes Arico said. “It is one of the highest honors you can achieve in any sport. To get an opportunity to be surrounded by the best players and coaches in the game is exciting. I am thrilled to be teaming up with two of the brightest minds in the business.”

Currently in his seventh season as the Louisville head coach, Walz owns a 175-67 (.723) record with the Cardinals, where twice he has led the program to NCAA National Championship game. So far in 2013-14, Louisville is an impressive 27-2 for the season.

“I am honored to have been selected to represent USA basketball as an assistant coach for the U18 Women’s National Team,” Walz said. “Since beginning in this profession, the realization of this endeavor has been a life-long ambition. I am thrilled to be amongst some of the greatest collegiate coaches and hope to contribute both on and off the court. I appreciate USA Basketball for recognizing my passion and will work diligently to help mentor and coach some of the most talented young women in the game. Go USA!”

USA Basketball will conduct trials for the 2014 USA Women’s U18 National Team May 23-27 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996. Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the U18 tournament was held every four years from 1998-2004. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2004 championship, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 43-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.

USA U18 women’s alumni of note include: Jayne Appel (2006); Tamika Catchings (1996); Skylar Diggins (2008); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Nicole Powell (2000); Breanna Stewart (2012); Diana Taurasi (2000); Morgan Tuck (2012); and Candice Wiggins (2004).

In addition to Foster, the 2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes: NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt University), Lindsay Gottlieb (University of California) and Joi Williams (UCF); as well as athlete representative Kara Lawson (2008 Olympic gold medalist and a veteran of nine USA Basketball teams).