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Dawn Staley Talks Blazers Interview Process

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On a recent episode of the podcast Tea with A and Phee, the head coach of Team USA gives a behind-the-scenes look at meeting with the franchise.

Women’s Basketball Medal Ceremony - Olympics: Day 16 Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers are well into the offseason with new coach Chauncey Billups, but before Billups was hired, Dawn Staley was among the candidates for the team’s new head coach. CBS Sports writer Jack Maloney recently highlighted an episode of the Tea with A & Phee podcast that featured the USA women’s basketball coach.

Staley spoke with A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces and Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx on their podcast shortly after returning home from Tokyo where she led Team USA to a gold medal. When the topic of coaching in the NBA came up, Staley shared a little bit of her experience in interviewing with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I had never had an ounce of me that wanted to coach in the WNBA or NBA, until somebody sought me out, like the Portland Trail Blazers.”

“When you’re being sought out, you have to vet it a little bit to see if they’re really serious about it. I thought they treated me like a real candidate. Whether or not they seriously considered me, I felt like it wasn’t a fluke. So I agreed to do it.”

“There was a Zoom and there were like four or five people around and they were just firing questions...they said ‘You don’t really have to know [the X’s and O’s] as much right now. We want to know how you would deal with star players. How would you deal with players who didn’t play? How would you deal with behavior?’...That is most of the job.”

“It was really a great experience, I took a lot of notes because if another female is ever in that position, I got the notes, and I’m going to give them everything that they asked me — how I answered it, what they said.”

Staley is currently the head coach of the women's basketball team at the University of South Carolina. She has held that position since 2008, coaching the team to multiple post-season appearances, including a National Championship team in 2016-17 that featured A’ja Wilson.

You can listen to the entire episode of the podcast here, which discusses Staley’s experience coaching Team USA.