Posted: 12:00 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013
Lost a bit in all of the spring football and Jamel Artis talk was that Pitt hired a new women's basketball coach on Friday, picking up Suzie McConnell-Serio. If you know anything about women's basketball, that name should mean something to you.
McConnell-Serio was one of the most decorated women's players at one point. She played high school basketball here in western PA before playing at Penn State. She was a first-round draft pick in the WNBA and helped the U.S. win the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. After all of that, she went on to coach in the WNBA, winning the Coach of the Year Award in 2004.
For the past five years she's been the head coach at Duquesne. In the last four, she's won at least 20 games each season.
In other words, folks, this was a slam dunk hire.
Pitt simply could not have found a better choice. She's not only a local product, but since she's been coaching at Duquesne, she is still tied into the local recruiting scene. Only now, she'll be able to land better players that have a desire to play in the ACC. And having played and coached at the next level, that will be another attractive thing for recruits.
And want to know the cool thing? She says she's not going anywhere ... ever:
McConnell-Serio: "This is my last job." #Pitt— Pitt News Sports (@pittnewssports) April 12, 2013
And if you wanted another reason to like men's coach Jamie Dixon, go ahead and credit him with a small assist here:
"It's kind of a no-brainer, right?" Jamie Dixon to Steve Pederson on hiring McConnell-Serio #PittWBB— Pitt Athletics (@PittAthletics) April 12, 2013
And while we're at it, you could argue that this hire fell into his lap a bit, but credit should go to Steve Pederson here for a great hire. He also gave in to her request for a sixth year after Pitt reportedly offered her a five-year deal. The school needed to do whatever it took to bring her in and they did. Pederson hasn't always made good hires, but this could go down as one of his best.
I was a fan of former coach Agnus Berenato and she certainly took the program farther than it had been, but she doesn't have the credentials McConnell-Serio does if we're being honest here. Not sure what more you could ask for here. A native of the area, a former star player in college and the pros, and a successful coach that never wants to leave? Yeah, I'm sold.