**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Allen Sharpe**
When Jolette Law received a call from Dawn Staley asking if she would be interested in joining the South Carolina staff, Law thought Staley was joking with her.
But Staley wasn't, and Law told her she would call when she came back from vacation. Law held her promise, and in no time at all Law found herself as the replacement to Nikki McCray-Penson, who left Staley's staff for the head coach position at Old Dominion.
It was the perfect fit for the Florence native who came to the Gamecocks from Tennessee. In fact, Law was hoping that Staley would call her two years ago, the last time there was an opening on the South Carolina staff.
Law spoke to the South Carolina media for the first time on Monday, and talked about how easy a decision it was.
"This is home," Law said. "23 years of coaching, there's no place like home. Having the opportunity to be here at this great university and also to coach with a Hall of Famer, the next Olympic coach and a national champion, I'm pinching myself right now."
Law didn't have much of an adjustment period as she hopped on a flight on Tuesday morning to head to Japan with the team. The Gamecocks will spend more than a week overseas training with the Japan national team.
"I was like, 'Dawn, can I start July 1?' Law recalled. "She was like, 'No, you need to get here in two days.' It's been a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot."
Law herself brings a wealth of experience to Columbia. She played at Iowa before coaching at Ball State and Rutgers, and spent five seasons as the head coach at Illinois before joining Tennessee's staff. Law was an instrumental recruiter and helped the Lady Vols snag the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2017.
She recruited several current Gamecocks, and will try to do all she can to help Staley and South Carolina defend the national title.
"Go and try to find the best players and continue the legacy that she started," Law said.
Photo gallery (photos by Allen Sharpe)
Along with helping the Gamecocks' recruiting efforts, Law will also bring expertise on the defensive end of the floor. You can't play for Staley unless you bring as much effort on defense as possible, so Law will fit right in.
One of the things that's surprised Law the most is how much fun the Gamecocks have. They of course get down to work when they need to, but they also know how to liven things up, evidenced by Staley dunking on Law in a video that was recently published on social media.
"They're so fun-loving," Law said of the Gamecocks. "They've been so warm. Such a family atmosphere and I'm still pinching myself. I'm living a dream."
One thing that hasn't surprised Law is the loyalty and passion of Gamecock Nation. As an assistant at Tennessee, she was used to playing at Colonial Life Arena in front of large, loud crowds. Her family in the Florence area told her they plan on buying season tickets, and Law had a message for them.
"I told my family in Florence that if you're really serious about being a season ticket holder, you might need to apply now," Law said.
"Gamecock Nation is on fire."