Lisa Cermignano (pronounced sir-min-YA-no) spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Illini under head coach Jolette Law from 2009-10 through 2011-12. She spent three years as an assistant at Vanderbilt University prior to coming to Illinois. Cermignano was the recruiting coordinator, developed the Illini guards, scouted and spearheaded team building and academic mentoring.
At Illinois, Cermingnano has helped in the development and maturation of Illinois' guards, with their growth showing among the category leaders in the Big Ten. Cermignano's guidance led 2010-11 starting point guard Lydia McCully to earn fifth in the conference in assists and eighth in assist-turnover ratio.
During her first season with the Fighting Illini, Cermignano helped guide the team to 19 wins and a trip to the WNIT quarterfinals, while also pushing young guards Lydia McCully and Adrienne GodBold toward steady improvement throughout the season. Cermignano also helped coach Law land a pair of top-100 recruits in Alexis Burke and Centrese McGee.
Prior to coming to Illinois, Cermignano spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the Vanderbilt women's basketball team, joining the Commodores in the summer of 2006 under head coach Melanie Balcomb. Cermignano served as the team's defensive coordinator, worked primarily with the guards and was also an essential part of Vanderbilt's recruiting efforts. In three seasons at VU, she helped lead the Commodores to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s (2008 and `09) and two Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament titles (2007 and `09). During her first season at VU in 2006-07, Cermignano's guards led the nation in three-point shooting and Caroline Williams graduated that season as the most accurate long-range shooter in the history of the SEC. That same year, point guard Dee Davis became the school's all-time assists leader and was chosen in the WNBA draft. In 2007-08, Cermignano's guards were key in Vandy ranking in the top-15 in turnover margin, assist-turnover ratio and field goal percentage. Guard Jennifer Risper was named WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year, and point guard Jence Rhoads ranked in the NCAA's top-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio. Then in 2009, she signed Vanderbilt's first McDonald's All-American, Stephanie Holzer, under Balcomb.
Prior to Vandy, Cermignano spent five years as an assistant coach at George Washington (Washington, D.C.), where she helped lead the team to four Atlantic 10 regular season championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. Working alongside head coach Joe McKeown, who is currently the head coach at Northwestern, she focused on team defense and developing the Colonials' perimeter players. Cermignano helped develop Cathy Jones, who broke Cermignano's career three-point field goals record and went on to play professionally for WNBA's Chicago Sky and overseas in Spain, and Kim Beck, who was drafted by the Seattle Storm after leading GW to back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances. Cermignano also worked with Anna Montanana, who was the leading scorer for Spain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and played in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx.
Cermignano began her coaching career during the 1997-98 season as an assistant at Maryland. She moved on to Monmouth (West Long Branch, N.J.), where she served as an assistant coach for two seasons before accepting a position with her alma mater, George Washington.
Cermignano attended and starred for George Washington from 1993-97, earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1997. As a player at GW, she was a three-year starter for a team that advanced to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, making it to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1995 and the Elite Eight in 1997. She was named a captain prior to her senior season and earned College Player of the Year honors from the South Jersey Basketball Club. The two-time All-Conference selection connected on 270 career three-pointers, second all-time at GW. Cermignano's protégé - Cathy Joens - surpassed her three-point record during the 2003-04 season. On Feb. 9, 2008, Cermignano was inducted into the George Washington Athletic Hall of Fame.
Born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and raised in Mantua, N.J., Cermignano was a prep star at Glouchester Catholic (N.J.). She scored 2,063 points in her high school career to set the school's scoring record and was named Gatorade State Player of the Year after the 1993 season.
THE CERMIGNANO FILE
Updated April 2012