Dawn Staley’s Cheyney State jersey puts the nation’s oldest HBCU back in the limelight

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  • Published on March 21, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In Culture

With a population less than 500, Cheyney, PA is home to Cheyney State University, the nation’s oldest HBCU with a deep history in NCAA basketball.

WNBA veteran Dawn Staley led the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team to the Final Four. On Sunday, instead of wearing the trademark SC garnet and black while coaching her team to victory over South Florida, she wore a white and blue No. 44 Cheyney University jersey.

The significance of Staley wearing the jersey is immense. Cheyney University is the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and the only HBCU team to advance to the Final Four in women’s college basketball. Legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer led them in 1982 and 1984. She recently retired in 2022 with an overall record of 1,055-426 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

The No. 44 jersey belonged to Yolanda Laney. Laney led Cheyney to four Elite Eight and two Final Four appearances during her time at the school. In an after-game interview, the Olympian told a reporter that Laney is also a Philadelphia native and organized a youth basketball league she played in growing up.

The rural area of Cheyney, Pennsylvania, nestled close to Chester and Delaware, reported a population of a little under 500 people. The small area was founded by the Cheyney Family in 1961. The small city is just 10,000 acres and visitors have to venture into close by cities such as Glen Mills and Thortonn to enjoy what the area has to offer.

If you ever find yourself traveling through Cheyney or taking a tour of the historic school that has been standing since 1902, here are some places to visit:

Orchard Tea Room

Duffer’s Tavern

The Golf Course at Glen Mills

Grace Winery

Byrsa Bistro

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