Suzie McConnell Serio
College - Penn State '88
Suzie McConnell Serio was named head coach of the Minnesota Lynx on Jan. 21, 2003. The former WNBA star and two-time Olympian has been an influential figure in the world of women's basketball for almost two decades.
In 2003, McConnell Serio led the Lynx to the franchise's most successful season in its five-year history. Minnesota, which qualified for its first-ever WNBA Playoffs berth in 2003, set several franchise records in 2003, including most wins (18), most home victories (11) and most consecutive home wins (7). Minnesota also tied its most road wins in club history with seven (1999, 2000). The Lynx' eight-game improvement (from 10-22 in 2002) was the second-best turnaround in the WNBA in 2003 and tied the fifth-best in league history. In Game 1 of the 2003 Western Conference semifinals, McConnell Serio guided the team to its first playoff win. Minnesota mounted a league playoff record 21-point comeback to win 74-72 on Aug. 29 vs. Los Angeles.
McConnell Serio followed that effort with another playoff berth and a franchise-best No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in 2004. The Lynx tied franchise records for wins (18), home victories (11) and road wins (7). In addition, Minnesota set a franchise record with a six-game winning streak (July 9-28), and enjoyed its most successful month in team history with an 8-3 record in July. Following the 2004 season, McConnell Serio was named WNBA Coach of the Year
In two seasons with the Lynx, McConnell Serio has posted a 36-32 record (.530 winning percentage) and led the team to its only two playoff appearances in the club's six-year history.
Before joining the Lynx, McConnell Serio served as head coach of Oakland Catholic High School (Pittsburgh, Pa.) for 13 years. She posted an all-time record of 321-86 (82.5%), including a 120-10 (92.3%) mark the last four seasons. She completed her Oakland Catholic career with her team winning its third PIAA Class AAA championship in 2003 (28-5). Previously, Oakland Catholic won state championships in 2001 and 1993, and was runner-up on two other occasions (2002 and 2000). The school won four consecutive district championships from 1999-2002. McConnell Serio reached a coaching milestone on Dec. 17, 2002 when she registered her 300th victory at Oakland Catholic.
The former WNBA point guard played three seasons in the league with the Cleveland Rockers (1998-2000). As a rookie in 1998, she earned WNBA Newcomer of the Year and All-WNBA First Team honors after averaging 8.6 ppg and 6.4 apg (second in the league). She was a two-time winner of the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award (1998 and 2000), and finished her professional career with averages of 6.4 ppg and 4.6 apg in 81 contests. Cleveland drafted McConnell Serio in the second round (16th overall) in the 1998 WNBA Draft. McConnell Serio continued coaching at Oakland Catholic while playing in the WNBA.
Prior to her professional playing career, McConnell Serio won two Olympic medals. She was a member of the gold-medal-winning 1988 U.S. women's basketball team, and earned a bronze medal with the 1992 U.S. Olympic team. In 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, McConnell Serio finished among the U.S. leaders in the following categories: three-point field goals (five, first), three-point field goal percentage (71.4%, first), assists (11, tie-second), free throw percentage (91.7%, tie-second) and points (8.4 ppg, fifth). She averaged 6.8 ppg and 3.6 apg (second) in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Along with the Olympics, she also won a gold medal at the 1991 World University Games.
McConnell Serio completed a stellar collegiate career at Penn State (1984-85 through 1987-88), finishing as the NCAA's all-time career assist leader with 1,307, a record that still stands. She averaged 14.9 ppg and 10.2 apg in 128 career contests for the Nittany Lions. As a senior, McConnell Serio was named a First Team Kodak All-American after establishing a school single-season record of 682 points (20.7 ppg). She set the Penn State all-time record for steals (507) and the single-game record for assists (21). A four-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference player, she led the nation in assists as a junior with 355. The Pittsburgh native was named the conference's Freshman of the Year in 1985 after averaging 12.6 points and 9.7 assists per game.
McConnell Serio and her husband, Pete, have four children: Peter (12), Jordan (8), Mandy (6) and Madison (5). In 1999, Sports Illustrated named her one of the Top 50 Athletes of the Century in the state of Pennsylvania, and in the same year she was honored as the Pittsburgh Athlete of the Year. She has also been recognized as one of Cleveland's 50 Most Interesting People of 1998 by Cleveland Magazine and as one of "The 10 Gutsiest Women of 1998" by Jane Magazine.
McConnell Serio Links
Photo galleries: 2003 | 2004
2004 WNBA Coach of the Year
2004 McConnell Serio review
Feature story: A Player's Coach (August 2004)
Feature story: Lynx Do It With Defense (Seattle, September 2004)
Chat transcript (August 2004)
Mailbox (July 2003)
Jan. 21, 2003: Lynx name McConnell Serio head coach