By Steve DiMiceli
On the heals of the Dukes third straight women's City Game victory, I don't think it should be surprising that a call to extend coach Suzie McConnell - Serio would be made. While she has not turned the program around in the same dramatic fashion as her men's counterpart Ron Everhart, she has the Dukes poised to make their first NCAA tournament appearance and a run at the A-10 title. She's established Duquesne as the top program in the greater Pittsburgh area, but I believe she has the potential to make this team into a national power.
The Dukes are currently 42nd in terms of RPI after finishing 56th last season. A bad loss against North Dakota keeps them from being higher. Suzie seems to fair well in all aspects of coaching. Her players get better under her tutelage. By all reports, her in game coaching is strong. Her players come prepared to play almost every night and her practices are said to be hell. She uses her celebrity to bring in the best young talent and her recruiting base, once seemingly confined to Western PA, has expanded nation wide. She's long had a reputation as a great floor general as player. Now, she is proving to be a great Commander in Chief.
McConnell - Serio could take this program to places few would have imagined. The problem is, she could take any program to the next level. The administration and athletic department have proven they will invest in facilities for the long term. Now, they need to invest in the personnel. I think McConnell - Serio can make the Dukes a perennial A-10 and NCAA contender with the potential to make deep runs. I also think she can make this into a program that draws between 1500-2500 fans to every game. Women's basketball has the potential to be a self - sustaining revenue sport, but they need to write the check. I'm not sure McConnell - Serio leaves Pittsburgh at this point in her career, but I could see an opening down Forbes Ave in the near future. If Greg Amodio doesn't pay her, I could see Steve Peterson splashing the cash.