Duquesne names Burt as women's basketball head coach
The Duquesne women's basketball team Saturday named former top assistant Dan Burt as its new coach to replace Suzie McConnell-Serio.
Burt will be officially introduced in a news conference Monday.
Burt was as assistant coach under McConnell-Serio for the past six years, during which time the Dukes won 123 games and appeared in the WNIT five times. The 42-year-old Washington, Pa., native was recently named one of the top mid-major assistants in the nation by Kenny Kallina of Florida Girl's Basketball.
Burt was the first hire McConnell-Serio made when she took over at Duquesne, and he joined her at Pitt when she made the move across town earlier this month.
He hoped, however, that he'd get the opportunity to take over the program with which he played such an important role the past six years.
“I was in a situation where I recruited many of the players, and Duquesne was very important to me,” he said. “The players are very important to me. We helped create the program together, and when you've been an assistant for 15 or 16 years or however long I have been, you always want your shot to be a head coach. And I really can't ask for a better situation with the amount of talent we have returning and the support that we get.”
Burt informed players Friday, and it appears as if everyone will stay.
“Some surely came to be coached by Suzie and I understand that, but I think they're making the transition well,” he said. “When you have a successful program and the very best players are staying and committed to the program and to me as the new head coach, that usually means the others fall in line and that appears to be happening.”
Rachel Wojdowski, who was the director of basketball operations under McConnell-Serio, will be joining Burt's staff as an assistant, and he also has a current Division II head coach lined up to join the staff in the near future.
Burt helped assemble a Dukes' 2011 class ranked 38th in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz and 47th by Blue Star Basketball, and a 2013 class ranked 39th best by Blue Star Basketball.
Prior to joining Duquesne, Burt was an assistant for three seasons at Bucknell (2004-07), three seasons at West Virginia (1998-2001) and three at UNC-Wilmington (2001-04).
“I'm happy for him,” McConnell-Serio said. “He's been coaching a long time, and it's an opportunity he can't pass up. I think it's a good situation for everyone, and the players have continuity and familiarity.”
“Dan Burt is the perfect choice to lead our women's basketball program. He has demonstrated a strong commitment to the university and our student-athletes,” athletic director Greg Amodio said in a statement.
“I expect the program to grow under his leadership and compete for the Atlantic 10 Conference championship annually. The addition of Dan ensures that everything is in place for the continued success of Duquesne women's basketball.”