2011 USA Women's World University Games Team Assistant Coach
While Suzie McConnell-Serio undertakes her first USA Basketball coaching assignment as an assistant for the 2011 USA Women's World University Games Team, she earned four gold medals as an athlete for the red, white and blue, including the 1988 Olympics, the 1986 FIBA World Championship, the 1991 World University Games and the 1985 R. William Jones Cup. She also collected a bronze medal with the USA at the 1992 Olympics and served on the USA Basketball Executive Committee from 2001-2004.
In four seasons at Duquesne University (2007-08 to present), she has compiled a 79-48 overall record (.622 winning percentage) and reached the past three postseason WNITs.
In 2010-11, she led her squad to a 24-9 mark, recording the program’s first postseason victory in the WNIT and leading all NCAA Division I teams with 14 road victories. The 24 wins established a new high for the program, as did the team’s 2,291 points, 835 made field goals, 1,312 rebounds, 517 assists, 362 steals and 155 blocked shots.
In her first season in 2007-08, Duquesne finished 15-15, a dramatic improvement for a team that had been 7-20 the year prior. She followed that up with the program’s first 20-win season and a record for wins at the time with a 20-12 mark in 2008-09. Also in 2009, Duquesne reached the school’s first postseason berth with a WNIT appearance and set then school records for points scored (2,208) and assists (487).
The Dukes again finished with a 20-12 record and WNIT appearance in 2009-10 and received votes in the AP national rankings for the first time since 2002. As a result, McConnell-Serio was named the 2010 Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year for a second time, the first recognition coming in 1999.
McConnell-Serio spent nearly four seasons (2003 through July 2006) as the head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. In her first season, she led the Lynx to a then-record for wins with an 18-16 finish, including a trip to the franchise’s first WNBA Playoffs. The Lynx finished 18-16 again in 2004 and made another playoff appearance, and McConnell-Serio was tabbed the 2004 WNBA Coach of the Year.
She began her coaching career at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where she worked for 13 seasons (1990-91 through 2002-03) and won three Class 4A state titles (1993, 2001, 2003) and four District 7 (WPIAL) championships. She compiled a 321-86 overall record (.789 winning percentage) at Oakland Catholic and averaged more than 24 wins per season. Nearly a dozen of her former players went on to earn NCAA Division I scholarships.
As an athlete, she played four varsity seasons at Penn State University (1984-85 through 1987-88), where she was the first All-American selection in Penn State women’s basketball history (Kodak and Street & Smith’s in 1988), four times earned All-Atlantic 10 Conference first team recognition and was awarded the 1988 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the best player in women’s basketball 5’8” or shorter. She compiled a 95-33 record and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance as a Nittany Lion. She set NCAA Division I records for career assists (1,307), assists in a season (355 in 1986-87) and season assist average (11.8 in 1996-97). Her assist total and assists per game led the nation in 1985-86 and 1986-87.
Drafted 16th overall in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Cleveland Rockers, she played three seasons with Cleveland. She was named WNBA Newcomer of the Year and to the All-WNBA first team in 1998 and earned the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 1998 and 2000.
McConnell-Serio was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame with the Class of 2008 and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. She has been honored as a USA Today All-Time Women’s Basketball Team selection, as one of Sports Illustrated’s Top 50 Pennsylvania Athletes of the Century and as the best basketball player of all-time, male or female, 5’4” or shorter in the Oct. 29, 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated.