Tom McConnell Joins Colorado Basketball Coaching Staff
BOULDER - Tom McConnell, a veteran of the collegiate and high school coaching ranks for nearly 20 years, has been named assistant women's basketball coach at the University of Colorado, head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller announced on Thursday.
McConnell, the older brother of McConnell-Miller, replaces Mike Neighbors who took a similar position at the University of Arkansas in May.
"When I came out (to Colorado) and visited I was just so impressed with everyone in the Athletic Department," McConnell said. "It was just such a vibrant atmosphere and I'm looking forward to being a part of that. For me, it will also be a lot of fun to work with Kathy."
McConnell, 46, returns to the collegiate coaching ranks after a seven year hiatus. 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 boys basketball coach at Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona. This past season he guided the Marauders to a 19-10 mark and a piece of the Mountain Athletic Conference Division II regular season title.
He spent seven seasons as the head men's basketball coach at St. Francis (1992-99), where he ranks 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.
"I think he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff," McConnell-Miller said. "He has been so good for the game and has always been one of my mentors and someone I've always looked up to. To me he is the best fit for our staff and for our needs. Obviously I'm familiar with what he has done throughout his career. When he accepted the position, I felt we immediately got better as a staff."
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks full time, he served as boys 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 and currently head coach of the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA.
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 is the author of three handbooks; "The Art of Low Post Play," "Drills and Fundamentals for the Grade School Coach" and "Beyond X's and O's."
McConnell earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Point Park College in 1984. He played one season at Davidson College (1981-82) and two at Butler County (Pa.) Community College (1978-80) where he earned an associate's degree in 1980.
The oldest of eight children, he is one of six McConnell siblings who attended college on a basketball scholarship. He is one of five McConnell's presently in the coaching ranks, one at the professional level, two at the college level and two in the high school ranks.
Born on Nov. 15, 1959, McConnell and his wife Lisa have six children: Tommy (22), Ashley (21), Sean (18), Luke (16) and twins Christopher and Mary Grace (9).