Tom McConnell, a 20-year veteran of the collegiate and high school coaching ranks who has one of the most recognizable surnames in western Pennsylvania, was named the head women’s basketball coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this morning.
McConnell, 53, is the older brother of Suzie McConnell Serio, a former All-American at Penn State, a two-time U.S. Olympian, the former head coach of the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA and the current head women’s coach at Pitt.
He succeeds Jeff Dow, whose contract was not renewed in April after five seasons. The announcement was made at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, where IUP plays its home games.
McConnell has a long and varied r￩sum￩. He comes to IUP from Old Dominion, where he spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach. He spent seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at St. Francis (1992-99), where he also was an assistant in 1984-85.
Between stints at St. Francis, McConnell spent one season as an assistant at Wake Forest (1985-86), three years at Marquette (1986-89) and three seasons at Dayton (1989-92).
After leaving as head coach at St. Francis, McConnell became the director of youth and campus ministry for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. He returned to coaching in 2004 as the head boys’ coach at Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona. In 2006, his final season, he guided the Marauders to an overall record of 19-10 and an 11-3 mark in Mountain Athletic Conference action.
McConnell returned to the collegiate coaching ranks at Colorado in 2006 after a seven-year hiatus.
He began his coaching career as the head junior varsity boys’ coach and assistant varsity coach at Canon-McMillan High School and as a volunteer assistant men’s coach at Pitt in 1982-83.
McConnell was the head coach of the Pittsburgh women’s AAU basketball team that won the 1984 national championship and featured his sister.
The oldest of eight children, McConnell comes from a basketball family. He is one of six siblings who attended college on a basketball scholarship. Another sister, Kathy, is an assistant coach with the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.
McConnell earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Point Park College in 1984. He played two seasons at Davidson (1980-82), serving as team co-captain as a senior, and two at Butler County Community College (1978-80), where he earned an associate’s degree in 1980.
McConnell and his wife, Lisa, have six children: Tommy, 27; Ashley, 26; Sean, 23; Luke, 22; and twins Christopher and Mary Grace, 14.
Dow went 108-40 in five seasons at IUP, leading the Crimson Hawks to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs each season, three NCAA tournament berths and a PSAC championship in 2008-09. He is one of three coaches to win 100 or more games at IUP.