Charlene Thomas-Swinson has been an assistant coach under Carolyn Peck since the WNBA's Orlando Miracle's inception in 1999 so it came as no surprise when she made the decision to follow Peck to Gainesville. Thomas-Swinson, who in 2004-05 completed her third year on the UF sideline, officially was named to the Gator staff on April 10, 2002. Her on-court duties for the 2004-05 season included the development of the post players, in addition to coordinating the team's playing schedule among various other duties.
"One of Charlene's greatest strengths as a coach comes during a game. She is excellent at making adjustments and seeing the whole picture," Peck said. "We are extremely fortunate to have someone with her previous experiences as a former head coach on staff. Charlene has such a tremendous passion for the game and knowledge of the sport."
Prior to her three-year stay in Orlando, Thomas-Swinson was the head coach at St. John's University for three years, 1996-99. Among others she recruited to the Red Storm were Aiysha Smith, who opted for LSU once Thomas-Swinson departed, and Trish Patterson, who also changed her decision and played her senior year at UF with Thomas-Swinson on the sidelines.
From 1993-96, Thomas-Swinson served as an assistant coach at her alma mater Auburn University. During her four years on the Tiger coaching staff, the squad reached the NCAA Tournament three times, including the 1996 run to the Elite Eight.
Thomas-Swinson served as an assistant coach at Columbia Union College from 1989-91 before returning to Auburn, where she was a three-year starter for Joe Ciampi's Auburn squad and helped the Tigers capture their first-ever SEC regular season championship her senior year in 1987. Auburn also captured the 1987 SEC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Elite 8, after reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 her junior season.
Entering the 2004-05 season, Thomas-Swinson still appeared in the Auburn career record book, ranking seventh all-time for rebounding (761), seventh for steals (170) and sixth for field goal percentage (53.0%).
Interestingly, Thomas-Swinson played all four years at Auburn where former Florida head coach Carol Ross was an assistant during that time. Thomas-Swinson later joined Ross as a member of her 1998 USA Women's Select Team staff.
She earned her B.S. degree in business management from Auburn in 1992 and joined the coaching staff soon afterward.
She is a native of Takoma Park, Md., and married Aaron Swinson on May 3, 1997. The couple has one child, Charles, who was born on November 5, 2000.
Charlene Thomas-Swinson at a Glance
Date of Birth: December 11, 1965
Hometown: Takoma Park, Maryland
Education: Auburn (B.S. in Business Management, 1992)
Playing Background: four-year basketball letterwinner at Auburn, 1983-87
- An assistant coach for three years with the WNBA's Orlando Miracle, 1999-01
- Played college ball at Auburn from 1983-87, when former UF head coach Carol Ross was an assistant coach during her entire four-year career
- Head Coach at St. John's University for three years, 1996-99
- Four-year assistant coach at Auburn, where the Tigers reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 1996
- Her husband Aaron is a professional basketball player in Europe