PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson vowed to do a nationwide search while looking for a coach to revive a reeling women’s basketball program.
It led to the coach next door.
The Panthers hired Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio to lead the program into the ACC next fall.
The 46-year-old McConnell-Serio went 123-68 in six seasons with the Dukes and led Duquesne to five straight WNIT appearances.
The Dukes went 24-8 in 2012-13, including an 11-3 mark in the Atlantic 10.
“I am a Pittsburgh girl through and through and told Steve I probably would have never left Duquesne for any other job than this job,” McConnell-Serio said. “This is our home.”
McConnell-Serio replaces Agnus Berenato, fired earlier this month after the Panthers posted a second straight winless season in the Big East.
The Panthers also failed to beat Duquesne in each of the last four meetings between the rivals located just two miles apart.
Pederson joked he “hadn’t noticed” McConnell-Serio’s success.
“I told our players I would find a coach that will maximize the potential of everybody that’s here and everybody that will come here,” Pederson said. “This is absolutely the perfect fit.”
McConnell-Serio starred at Penn State in the 1980s and is a two-time Olympian. She helped the U.S. to gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and won a bronze in Barcelona four years later. The former point guard played three seasons in the WNBA and was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 1998 after averaging 8.6 points and 6.4 assists per game.
She coached at a Pittsburgh high school for 13 years before winning WNBA Coach of the Year in 2004 while coaching the Minnesota Lynx.
She resigned midway through the 2006 season before taking over at Duquesne in 2007.
“To be all over the world and coach at every level, it’s great to be home,” she said. “This is my last job and I’ll be here as long as he’ll have me.”