Chmiel part of South Carolina coaching staff in NCAA title game
For starters, he’s one of the South Carolina assistant coaches.
But maybe more importantly he’s from Alaska, and the 907 connection has proven to be extremely successful by going 7-1 in the NCAA title game.
South Carolina faces NCAA Tournament Cinderella Mississippi State, which snapped UConn’s record 111-game winning streak in the semifinals to deny the Huskies a chance to win a fifth straight national title.
Chmiel, of Palmer High fame, helped South Carolina beat Stanford in the other semifinal.
He’s been on South Carolina’s staff since 2015 and previously worked for head coach Dawn Staley in the WNBA.
Chmiel began coaching in 1994 after he wrapped up his playing career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
He is the latest Alaskan to be part of the NCAA D1 national championship game.
It started in 1986 when Juneau’s Andrea Lloyd helped Texas win the women’s national championship.
Anchorage’s Trajan Langdon advanced to the 1999 men’s final with Duke but lost to Connecticut.
In 2001, Juneau’s Carlos Boozer led Duke to a NCAA men’s title over Arizona.
Palmer’s Jessica Moore helped the Connecticut women win three consecutive national championships in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
In 2005, Palmer’s C.J. Hooker was on the North Carolina men’s team that knocked off Illinois in the men’s championship game.
And in the 2008 men’s final, Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers hit the big shot at the end of regulation to get Kansas into overtime where the Jayhawks beat Memphis to cut down the nets.