Personality Test: Suzie McConnell-Serio
Suzie McConnell-Serio knows basketball. As a player, coach and loyal family member cheering her many relatives who also coach or play, McConnell-Serio is immersed in the game.
The native of Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood also happens to be one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport and owner of more than 300 career coaching victories.
The mother of four is beginning her second season as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh, following six years at Duquesne University, where she led the Dukes to five consecutive 20-win years for the first time in the program’s history.
Steve Pederson, Pitt’s athletic director, calls her a “true legend of the game,” with a journey of success that extends from the WPIAL to the Olympics to the WNBA.
A member of the women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and a two-time Olympic medalist, including winning the gold in Korea, she was the 2004 WNBA Coach of the Year, helming the Minnesota Lynx. Prior to her professional coaching, she coached Oakland Catholic High School, establishing it as a perennial Pennsylvania power, leading the team to three state championships.
As a player, she was a Parade All-American at state champion Seton-La Salle High School in Mt. Lebanon. She also led the softball team to the WPIAL championship as a .500 hitter. She became the first women’s player in Penn State University’s basketball history to be named a first team All-American. The Cleveland Rockers drafted her in 1998, and she had three decorated seasons.
Sports Illustrated named her the best 5-foot-4 basketball player, male or female, of all-time, as well as one of the Top 50 Pennsylvania Athletes of the 20th Century.
McConnell-Serio is involved with the Coaches vs. Cancer program.
The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:
Reese Witherspoon. I just love her.
The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:
I probably still have it, because I don’t throw things away.
The superpower I wish I had:
Being able to teleport myself so I don’t have to sit in Pittsburgh traffic
I spend the most time on:
Pick one: “Veep,” “House of Cards,” “Scandal”
What you’ll always find in my glove compartment:
Dental floss and gum
The song I want played at my funeral:
“Be Not Afraid”
Show I have or want to binge watch:
In five years, I’d like to:
Have won an ACC championship
My favorite cable channel:
The movie that always makes me cry:
If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:
I can‘t sing, so there’s no way I would ever audition.
My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:
Cheesesteak with mushrooms, lettuce and mayo
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Hard pretzels and Swedish fish
Pick one: Pirates, Penguins, Steelers, other:
Love all Pittsburgh sports teams.
My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:
The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done:
I’m deathly afraid of:
Best vacation ever:
Honeymoon in St. Martin
The first band I saw in concert:
Bruce Springsteen, Three Rivers Stadium
Place I’d most like to visit:
Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:
The view from Mt. Washington
I wish I had more time to:
Be with my family and read books
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:
My family, and it’s a great sports town.
One word my mother would use to describe me:
“Special.” My sister suggested “favorite.”
Movie I could watch every time it appears on TV:
When I was 10, I wanted to be:
A flight attendant
If I could go back, I’d tell my teenage self:
Be more outgoing
My first job:
Worked for Councilwoman Sophie Masloff
My worst job:
Cleaning Seton LaSalle High School in the summer time while in high school
My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:
Franco Harris/Hines Ward
In high school, I was:
My favorite website:
My most treasured fashion accessory:
My wedding ring
If I wasn’t a basketball coach, I’d be:
My most memorable fashion mistake:
My ’80s mullet hairdo
My personal motto:
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Overused phrase I hate most:
The last book I read:
“How To Be the Ultimate Teammate,” by Pat Williams and Jim Denney
People would be surprised to know that I: