After spending last season a coach down, the LSU women’s basketball program got back to full strength Wednesday with the hiring of veteran coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson.
Thomas-Swinson comes to LSU with more than 20 years of coaching experience, including stints as a head coach at St. John’s and Tulsa. She also served as an assistant at her alma mater Auburn, Florida and Indiana, and was an assistant coach on the 1999 U.S. women’s national team and for the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle from 1999-2002.
“I’m extremely thrilled and very excited to have someone of Charlene’s caliber join the LSU women’s basketball family,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said in a university news release. “She brings a wealth of coaching experience and knowledge in all facets of the game to our staff. Charlene is a great person with a positive approach and has an excellent track record of developing players. She is an excellent recruiter, and there’s no doubt that she will help us succeed at the highest level.”
Thomas-Swinson fills the void on LSU’s staff left by former assistant Angel Elderkin, who left in October to become coach at Appalachian State.
LSU still has to find a replacement for former director of women’s basketball operations Jon Silver, who left earlier this month for an assistant coaching position at Vermont.
A native of Takoma Park, Maryland, Thomas-Swinson was a four-year letterwinner at Auburn, serving as team captain three straight seasons from 1983-87.
She began her collegiate coaching career with a three-year stint at Columbia Union College in Maryland before she returned to Auburn, in 1992. She then served as head coach at St. John’s from 1996-99.
Thomas-Swinson left St. John’s after the 1998-99 season to become an assistant coach with the Orlando Miracle, during which time she was an assistant with the 1998 USA Women’s Select Team and the 1999 USA Women’s National Team.
Thomas-Swinson returned to the college game and the SEC at Florida in 2002, then served as head coach at Tulsa from 2005-11, earning Conference USA coach of the year honors in 2006. She was an assistant at Indiana in 2011-12.
Thomas-Swinson’s husband Aaron Swinson is an assistant coach for the University of Cincinnati’s women’s basketball team. They have two children, Charles and Jada.