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Dawn Staley shares story behind Cheyney State jersey worn during Sunday’s NCAA game

Dawn Staley paid tribute to a legendary women’s basketball coach in Sunday’s NCAA Tournament second round game against South Florida.

Staley wore a Cheyney State jersey to honor C. Vivian Stringer, who coached the Wolves to the national championship in 1982, a game in which the team came up short to Louisiana Tech.

Cheyney State is the oldest HBCU in the country, and still the only one to make it to the Final Four.

“One of my friends texted me and asked me if I wanted the jersey,” Staley said. “And I was like, ‘Of course.’ I like the jersey, I like what it stands for.”

Yolanda Laney is the player represented on the jersey, as she wore No. 44 for the Wolves. Laney is the front-facing player on a Sports Illustrated cover that highlighted Cheyney State — now known as Cheyney University and located in Cheyney, Pennsylvania.

Staley said Stringer played a big role in creating the Developmental Basketball League, or the DBL, in Philadelphia when she was younger. This allowed a young Staley to work on her game over the summer.

“Fond memories of that,” Staley said.

Stringer won 1,055 games in her coaching career, which is fifth all time. She also coached at Iowa and Rutgers. She coached from 1972 to 2022, and recently celebrated her 75th birthday.

She reached the Final Four four times in her career, and won Naismith Coach of the Year in 1993.

“For them to be led by Coach Stringer, who opened doors that now I walk through, it was truly an honor to wear this jersey and to represent them,” Staley said.