Pitt hires Duquesne's McConnell-Serio as women's basketball coach
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Friday, April 12, 2013, 10:42 a.m.
When Pitt women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio reported to work Friday — the first day at a new job — the man who hired her noticed an immediate change in the surroundings.
“I can feel today an energy in our department that I haven't felt for a little while, in terms of what we feel we are going to be able to do in women's basketball,” athletic director Steve Pederson said.
Pitt didn't have to reach far to find a replacement for fired coach Agnus Berenato, naming McConnell-Serio to the position after a search that lasted less than two weeks.
McConnell-Serio is a Brookline native and a member of one of the most accomplished basketball families in the city. Aside from winning two Olympic medals as a point guard on the U.S. team, she compiled a 123-68 record in six seasons at Duquesne University after leading Oakland Catholic to three PIAA Class AAAA championships.
McConnell-Serio, 46, signed a six-year contract, extracting an extra year from Pederson, who offered five.
“I wanted six because I am invested here,” she said. “This is my last job. I will be here as long as he will have me.”
Pitt men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon was among the people Pederson consulted during what he termed a “nationwide search.” Dixon, who has known the new Pitt women's coach for many years through the Coaches vs. Cancer program, told Pederson hiring McConnell-Serio was “a no-brainer.”
“It's very rare that the easy thing is the best thing, and this is that case,” Dixon said. “You think it's almost too obvious, too simple, but that's the case. It's pretty clear in my mind.”
Dixon said he told Pederson, “Let's not try to overthink this thing.”
Pitt junior point guard Brianna Kiesel said she was surprised when Berenato was fired.
“She had done a lot for the program,” Kiesel said. “We were in a little bit of lull where we just weren't winning. Hey, it happens, you know.”
McConnell-Serio said recruiting at Pitt will be “an easy sell” despite the team going winless in the Big East the past two seasons.
“The foundation is here, and now you are trying to add pieces and what that provides is an incredible opportunity for players,” she said. “If you are recruiting players to a team that hasn't been successful, that's something that you look for — an opportunity to play.”
McConnell-Serio will bring four members of her Duquesne staff to Pitt, including recruiting coordinator Dan Burt, videographer Lauren Reinshuttle and assistants Carmen Bruce and Lindsay Richards.
Bruce and Richards are daughters of former Pitt guards Kirk Bruce and Tom Richards. Lindsay Richards' brother Jason is a graduate manager for the Pitt men's program.
Three of McConnell-Serio's siblings — Kathy, Tom and Tim — are basketball coaches, and her sister Maureen played at Seton-La Salle High School and Pitt.
McConnell-Serio met with her former players just hours before Pitt's news conference.
“The hardest thing I had to do was say goodbye to the Duquesne team this morning,” she said, fighting back tears.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Pitt wraps up spring football practice with closeness, competition
- Pirates notebook: Wandy Rodriguez experiencing decline in fastball velocity
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Obama, Biden to announce $500M for job training grants during W.Pa. visit
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Pirates conclude wild suspended game with win, drop 2nd of series
- Lawsuit against Frazer policeman, township moved to federal court