Dawn Staley, regarded as one of the greatest women’s basketball coaches in history, showed her kindness as she visited South Carolina’s underdog opponent earlier this week.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley spent time with Presbyterian before defeating the Blue Hose in the school’s first-ever appearance in March Madness.

In the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, No. 16 Presbyterian suffered a 91-39 loss to No. 1 overall seed South Carolina. Three days before the game, Staley – the two-time national champion coach of the Gamecocks – surprised the Blue Hose by meeting them at their hotel ahead of their First Four game in Columbia.

Dawn Staley kindly spent time with Presbyterian before the college's NCAA Tournament debut, a First Four win over Sacred Heart

Staley visited Presbyterian at the request of head coach Alaura Sharp, whose team made its first-ever March Madness appearance after clinching the Big South title. Following the Gamecocks’ crushing 52-point victory on Friday, Sharp heaped praise on Staley for her pregame gesture.

“I made sure to tell them she didn’t have to come by,” Sharp said. “She didn’t have to do that. But she knows that she has a platform and how people feel about her. I just think that shows why she is who she is. She’s a good person. And I appreciate her investing in our program.”

Sharp laughed when revealing the reaction of her players to Staley’s arrival, adding: “I watched the video of their reaction when she walked in probably 12 times because I wanted to see each person and how they reacted.

I mean, their faces, it just shows what she means to everyone that’s either coaching or involved in the women’s game. Our players were excited.”

Presbyterian College is a small private school in Clinton, South Carolina.

It represents one of the smallest Division I schools in the country, with an enrollment of just under 1,000 students – but the team qualified for the tournament by catching fire down the stretch, winning three successive games to clinch the Big South conference tournament and qualify for the First Four.

Dawn Staley's South Carolina crushed Presbyterian in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

Presbyterian faced Sacred Heart, another No. 16 seed and automatic bid, at Colonial Life Arena and secured a 49-42 win. When the March Madness bracket was set, Sharp reached out to Staley to see if she was willing to meet the team ahead of their clash with Sacred Heart.

Staley, who’s gone viral several times for her displays of sportsmanship and kindness toward opponents including paying a dinner tab for Norfolk State last year, was more than happy to speak to the Presbyterian basketball team.

“They requested it … and if they want to meet me, I’m gonna make it possible for them to meet me,” Staley said after the game. “I think it’s important for us, even if they just know some of the history of our game. I think that was really important. And I’m all for making sure our history is in a great place.”

The win for Staley’s South Carolina ensured the team moved to 33-0 and set up a second-round matchup against No. 8 seed North Carolina on Sunday, March 24.