Indiana University head women's basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack announced on June 27, 2011 the hiring of Charlene Thomas-Swinson as assistant coach for the Hoosier program. Thomas-Swinson's first official day in her new role will be on July 1.
"We're excited to have someone of Charlene Thomas-Swinson's caliber," Legette-Jack said. "She played and coached the game at the highest level, coached in the SEC, coached in the Big East and Conference USA, and now having her in the Big Ten is a slam dunk. We'd like to welcome her family to Bloomington and she is a perfect addition to our women's basketball family."
Thomas-Swinson has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and one WNBA playoff appearance as a player or a coach. Those seven tournament berths include two trips to the Elite Eight, the first as a player for Auburn in 1987 and the second as an assistant with the Tigers in 1996.
"It was very impressionable to meet with Mr. Fred Glass and hear his vision and commitment to Coach Jack and the women's program," Thomas-Swinson said. "I am looking forward to being a part of the women's basketball staff and the IU family."
Thomas-Swinson arrives in Bloomington after serving as head coach for six seasons at the University of Tulsa. During her tenure, she led the Golden Hurricane to the school's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006, winning in their first round game with an upset over fifth-seeded North Carolina State. Tulsa was the Conference USA regular season and tournament champions, while finishing the year with a 26-6 record. With her team's performance, Thomas-Swinson was named C-USA Coach of the Year.
Prior to Tulsa, Thomas-Swinson was an assistant at the University of Florida for three years (2002-05), serving under head coach Carolyn Peck. During her time in Gainesville, the Gators appeared in the 2004 NCAA Tournament that included a first round victory over New Mexico. Thomas-Swinson also played a major role in Florida's 2005 top-10 recruiting class.
Thomas-Swinson also brings WNBA coaching experience with her to IU as she served as an assistant for the Orlando Miracle for four seasons (1999-02). During her tenure, the Miracle earned their way into the WNBA playoffs in 2000. Before her stop in Orlando, she served as head coach at St. John's University from 1996-99. During the span, Thomas-Swinson was an assistant coach for the USA Select Team in 1998 which earned a silver medal, and a year later was named an assistant for the USA National Team in 1999.
From 1992-96, Thomas-Swinson was an assistant at her alma mater, Auburn University. The Tigers made three NCAA Tournament appearances during her four years on the sidelines, which was highlighted by a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1993 and the Elite Eight run in 1996. Thomas-Swinson's first coaching opportunity came with Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md., where she served as an assistant for three seasons (1989-92).
Thomas-Swinson played for Auburn (1984-87) and served as team captain for three seasons. The Tigers played in the NCAA Tournament during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons with runs to the Sweet Sixteen in 1986 and the Elite Eight in 1987. Auburn was also crowned SEC champions during her senior campaign.
Thomas-Swinson is married to Aaron Swinson and they have two children, Charles and Jada.
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