Dawn Staley’s South Carolina squad will play Geno Auriemma’s UConn Sunday for the national championship. This will be the second consecutive year a Black female head coach will be on the sidelines for the title game.
“To have someone who is blazing the trail for other Black coaches in Division I sports is a great deal for me,” said Quintus Wrighten, the school’s band director after the Gamecocks’ 72-59 triumph over Louisville.
He is in his first year as South Carolina’s associate director of athletic bands. Like Staley, Dr. Wrighten was the only Black in charge among the four school bands—Staley is the school’s first Black head coach. “It’s a tremendous amount of pride,” said Wrighten, a South Carolina alum.
“It wasn’t terribly long ago at South Carolina that people who look like us couldn’t go to school there.” It isn’t often in these parts that you see a Black band director at a PWI. Wrighten added that the band and the women’s basketball team support each other—”a really great fellowship,” said Wrighten.
Charles Hallman will be providing a nightly recap of the day’s events during the Final Four in Minneapolis.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.