Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Durkin Quits Duquesne: Will McConnell Serio Be the Successor?

By Mel Greenberg

Dan Durkin, a native of Philadelphia, resigned as Duquesne's women's basketball coach Wednesday after 14 seasons.

The Dukes finished 7-20 overall and 2-12 in the Atlantic Ten, failling to qualify for the recent conference tournament in Cincinnati.

Durkin's overall record was 176-217 with his best year over the program occuring in 1998 when Dquesne was 19-9 and senior Korie Hlede, a two-time Atlantic Ten player of the year received honorable mention all-America status and was a first-round draft pick in the WNBA.

His departure comes on the eve of an NCAA women's tournament sub-regional being hosted by cross-town rival Pittsburgh of the Big East conference.

In recent season, the Panthers have turned their program around under former Georgia Tech Agnus Berenato and on Monday night Pittsburgh received an at-large bid for the Panthers' first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

Pittsburgh, seeded eighth, will meet No. 9 James Madison Sunday night in the first round.

So where might Duquesne turn to find Durkin's successor.

The answer might not be far from the doors of the athletic office in a town where the sport's greatest name is weighing her future options.

Suzie McConnell Serio recently returned to her native city with her family after leaving the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx head coaching job late in the season when the team faded from the playoff hunt.

A former local high school star, McConnell Serio went on to become an all-American at Penn State and was a member of the 1988 gold-medal winning United States olympic squad at the game in Korea.

Ironically, Durkin was an assistant coach at Penn State when McConnell Serio as a storied point guard had the Nittany Lions competing in the Atlantic Ten wars when the Nittany Lions were a member of the conference.

Her one-on-one confrontations with St. Joseph's Debbie Black were some of the best in the sport at the time.

McConnell Serio went on to become a very successful coach of Oakland Catholic in Pittsburgh, landing several state titles.

A decade after the gold medal, she came out of retirement to star in the WNBA with the former Cleveland Cavaliers and went on to cach the league's Minnesota Lynx, where she earned coach of the year honors before the team began to fade this past season.

McConnell Serio has also provided color commentary on broadcasts of Big Ten Conference women's basketball games.

There were whispers recently at the Atlantic Ten tournament that Durkin was going to depart Duquesne and McConnell Serio's name was speculated as a successor.

However, she said at the time she had had no discussion with Duquesne officials.

But she did add that with the family growing older, she thought she was ready to take a shot at a college coaching job if the opportunity was right?

So is Duquesne prepared to take a shot at McConnell Serio?

-- Mel

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