He’s a native of Miami who was a self-described terrible player in high school. She’s from Philadelphia and one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game. But once they arrived at South Carolina, Frank Martin and Dawn Staley each started from the same place: The bottom.
Staley’s home debut as women’s head coach was a loss to Clemson played before a few thousand people, the beginning of a 10-win season in 2008. Martin arrived four years later to run the men’s team and won 14 games before crowds so small he could clearly hear conversations in the stands.
In SEC play, the numbers were far worse: Staley won two league games her first season, Martin four, and in each case the attendance numbers dwindled as those debut campaigns wore on.