X & O's Specialist Tom McConnell Rounds Out Women's Basketball Coaching Staff
By ODU Athletics
Aug. 3, 2011
"Tom is a proven winner who really understands the X's and O's of the game," Barefoot said. "He comes highly recommended and has been successful coaching in both the men's and women's game. He's a great teacher and is someone who knows how to execute our system. Our players will pick up a lot from him quickly and learn a great deal from his method of teaching."
McConnell, who spent the last four seasons as a women's assistant coach at Colorado, is a 20-year veteran of the collegiate and high school coaching ranks. At Old Dominion he will work closely with Barefoot in game planning and player development, while also serving as the academic liaison and be involved heavily with camps.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to come to Old Dominion, a great place to be with a promising future," said McConnell. "I appreciate the rich tradition surrounding the program and am honored and humbled to be a part of it. Coach Barefoot's genuine enthusiasm for her players and her love and passion for ODU is contagious. I'm excited to be part of her staff and look forward to putting current and future players in positions to participate and advance in post-season play."
McConnell spent seven seasons as the head men's basketball coach at St. Francis (1992-99), where he is tied for second on the school's all-time list for wins with 85. His most successful season came in 1997-98 when he directed the Red Flash to a 17-10 mark for their first winning campaign in seven years. His 1997-98 effort still stands today as the most wins in one season at St. Francis since 1991-92.
McConnell's head coaching appointment at St. Francis was his second tour of duty with the school, as he was an assistant coach in 1984-85. Between stints at St. Francis, McConnell spent one season as an assistant at Wake Forest University (1985-86), three years at Marquette University (1986-89) and three seasons at the University of Dayton (1989-92).
In his first season at Dayton, he helped the Flyers to a 22-10 record, the Midwestern Collegiate Conference title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The 12th seeded Flyers upset the fifth seed University of Illinois 88-86 in the first round and fell to eventual Final Four participant University of Arkansas in the second round, 86-84.
After leaving his position of head men's basketball coach at St. Francis (Pa.) University following the 1998-99 season, McConnell became the Director of Youth and Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown (Pa.). He returned to coaching in 2004, while keeping his position with the Diocese, serving two seasons as head boy's basketball 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. During his tenure at CU, the Buffs advanced to the 2008 WNIT Final Four, the school's first ever postseason semifinal. Colorado also garnered the school's first national ranking in four seasons, reaching No. 23 in the AP poll.
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks full time, he served as boy's head junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pa., and as a volunteer assistant men's coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982-83.
McConnell was the head coach for the Pittsburgh Women's AAU Basketball Team that won the 1984 national championship and featured his sister Suzie McConnell Serio, an All-American at Penn State, a two-time United States Olympian, former head coach of the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA and current head women's coach at Duquesne.
He was the director of the Steal City Basketball Day Camp from 1981-87 and has served as the director of The Word and the Rock Basketball Camp since 1999 and Camp Zacchaeus since 2000.
McConnell earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Point Park College in 1984. He played two seasons at Davidson College (1980-82), serving as team co-captain as a senior, and two at Butler County (Pa.) Community College (1978-80) where he earned an associate's degree in 1980. He helped Butler to the 1979-80 Skyline Athletic Conference title and was coached there by Tom Beckett, currently the Athletic Director at Yale.
McConnell, the oldest of eight children, comes from a basketball family. Tom is one of six McConnell siblings who attended college on a basketball scholarship. In addition to Suzie, Tom's sister Kathy is currently an assistant coach with the WNBA's Tulsa Shock.
Born on Nov. 15, 1959, McConnell and his wife Lisa have six children: Tommy (27), Ashley (26), Sean (23), Luke (22) and twins Christopher and Mary Grace (14). He also has two grandchildren and is expecting a third. His daughter-in-law Jill was a standout basketball player at Canisius College.
What Others Are Saying About McConnell:
"Your staff is getting a gem! I have known Tom for over 30 years, from our early days together at 5 Star Basketball Camp and the camp circuit in general. There is not a better teacher of the game than Tom, and I have seen many of the best in my 31-year coaching career."
Pete Strickland, Assistant Basketball Coach, George Washington Men's Basketball
"I have known Tom for approximately 25 years and first and foremost he is a man of solid character. As a basketball coach, Tom knows the game and has the ability to teach and communicate with players. Having been both a college head coach and an assistant, Tom understands the value of serving a role and has the capacity to fulfill whatever role he is assigned. He is a "winner" in every sense of the word."
Dean Lockwood, Assistant Women's Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee
"Tom's a great man who will have a very positive impact on the program on and off the floor. He's a motivator and the players will respond to his style of coaching. Development of players is his forte as he's a teacher first. Tom loves the women's game and is very passionate about it. He knows the game from point guard play down to the post. Every player on the roster will benefit form having him on the staff."
Kathy McConnell-Miller, Assistant Coach, Tulsa Shock, WNBA
"First and foremost he's an unbelievable teacher of the game. He's incredibly knowledgeable and brings a great deal of passion and enthusiasm. He's someone that any player would love to play for. He's the biggest reason that so many of our family members go into coaching. He started it all."
Suzie McConnell-Serio, Head Women's Basketball Coach, Duquesne