Gamecocks coach, Clemson professor earn spots on star-studded list of most influential Black Americans

Clemson professor Drew Lanham and South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley made The Root...
Clemson professor Drew Lanham and South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley made The Root 100's list of most influential Black Americans.(Clemson/Associated Press)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 11:07 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2023 at 12:19 PM EST
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CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Drew Lanham, a wildlife professor for Clemson University and MacArthur genius grant recipient, said he found his name on The Root 100′s list of most influential Black Americans “quite by accident.”

“In past years, I’ve seen the list and noted who was on it, with never any sort of inkling that it could happen to me,” Lanham said. “Someone had tweeted a congratulatory note — and I’m not on Twitter a whole lot — and I looked and there it was.”

Lanham, the only ornithologist to make the list, earned the No. 99 spot for 2022 alongside household names like Michelle Obama, LeBron James, and Serena Williams.

The Root 100 called Lanham a pioneer for his work on naturalism and conservation and how those topics impact Black communities.

South Carolina head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley took the No. 26 spot. Staley, a six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, has led the team to two national championships.

“Staley’s team’s run during the 2021-2022 season was nothing short of extraordinary and has surely cemented her as one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball,” The Root 100 wrote.

Under Staley’s leadership, the Gamecocks have had 25-win seasons 11 times and won six SEC regular-season championships.