Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McConnell-Serio attended Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, leading the Lady Rebels to the PIAA State Championship in 1984. McConnell-Serio played college basketball at Penn State. In four seasons at PSU (1984-85 through 1987-88), she helped the Nittany Lions to a 95-33 record and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In the process, she was named the school's first First-Team All-American while setting NCAA Division I records for career assists (1,307), assists in a season (355 in 1987) and season assist average (11.8 in 1987). Her assist total and assist per game average led the nation in both 1986 & 1987. She also set the record for most career points by anyone with 1000+ assists at 1,897 points. In 2011, Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga University passed McConnell-Serio in number of assists in a single season with 367 in 2011, and number of career points with 1000+ assists with 2,073 points. McConnell still holds the title for most assists as Vandersloot had 1,118 career assists and Andrea Nagy of Florida International is still second in number of career assists at 1,291. She graduated from Penn State in 1988. McConnell-Serio won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1988. At the time, this award was given to the best women's basketball player in the country no taller than 5'6" (1.68 m); today, the height limit is 5'8" (1.73 m).
Before joining the Minnesota Lynx, McConnell-Serio served as head coach of the girls basketball team at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for 13 years, from 1991-2003. During that time, her teams won 3 PIAA state championships (1993, 2001, 2003), were runners-up twice (2000-2002), and won five consecutive district championships (1999-2003). On December 17, 2002, Suzie reached a coaching milestone with her 300th win. She finished her high school coaching career after the 2002-2003 season with a 321-86 record.
She also played in the WNBA. The former point guard played three seasons with the Cleveland Rockers (1998-2000). As a first-year player in 1998, she earned WNBA Newcomer of the Year and All-WNBA First Team honors after averaging 8.6 ppg and 6.4 apg (second in the league). She was a two-time winner of the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award (1998 and 2000), and finished her professional career with averages of 6.4 ppg and 4.6 apg in 81 contests.
In January 2003, McConnell-Serio returned to the WNBA as head coach of the Minnesota Lynx and took a team that finished 10-22 in the previous season to an 18-16 record and first-ever playoff appearance.
One year later, she took a team picked to finish last in the Western Conference by a number of preseason publications and made a return trip to the playoffs and in the process was named the 2004 WNBA Coach of the Year. The '04 Lynx, who earned a franchise-best #3 seed in the WNBA Western Conference, tied franchise records for wins (18), home victories (11) and road wins (7) all set in McConnell-Serio's first season. In addition, Minnesota enjoyed a franchise record six-game winning streak.
However, the Lynx struggled in the 2005 and 2006 season, and she resigned at mid-season on July 23, 2006.
Prior to her professional playing career, McConnell Serio won two Olympic medals. She was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's basketball team in the 1988 Summer Olympics, and earned a bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
She also won a gold medal at the 1991 World University Games. She won the 2004 WNBA Coach of the Year Award. In 1999, Sports Illustrated magazine named her one of the Top 50 Athletes of the Century in the state of Pennsylvania.
On April 13, 2007, she was named the Head Coach at Duquesne University.
On April 12, 2013, she was named the Head Coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
She is married to Pete Serio, with whom she has four children: Peter, Jordan, Mandi and Madison, all of whom have played basketball.
McConnell-Serio is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Hall on June 14, 2008, at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Her brother Tom played two seasons at Davidson and was the head coach for Saint Francis, Pa. from 1992–99 and has been an assistant coach at Wake Forest, Marquette and Dayton as well as women's assistant coach at the University of Colorado with sister Kathy. Before becoming the current Head Coach of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania women's team, he served as an assistant at Old Dominion.
Her sister Kathy, who was her teammate on the 1984 PIAA Championship team, is now Suzie's Associate Head Coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Kathy was previously the head coach at Tulsa (1999-05) and the University of Colorado (2006–10) before accepting a position as an assistant coach with the WNBA's Tulsa Shock. She was also an assistant coach at the University of Illinois (1996–99) and Rutgers (1994–95). Her first coaching job out of college was at the University of Pittsburgh as a recruiting coordinator during the 1991 season. Kathy played in four NCAA Championships while at the University of Virginia.
Her brother Tim played at Waynesburg and has served as the boy's coach at Chartiers Valley since 1992 and has won over 80 percent of his games while earning his 400th career win in 2010.
Her sister Maureen played at the University of Pittsburgh and her nephew T. J. McConnell (Tim's son) was on the Duquesne men's basketball team for two seasons (2011 and 2012) before transferring to Arizona. T.J. McConnell is currently a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.