Fred Chmiel reunited with South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley in June 2015, marking their third partnership, including one season in which he coached Staley in the WNBA. In 12 seasons as an assistant coach at the college level, Chmiel has been part of eight conference regular-season titles, four conference tournament titles, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including four Sweet 16 berths and the 2017 National Championship, and his teams have produced nine WNBA draft picks.
"Coach Staley has always been family to me," Chmiel said. "This staff's work ethic and determination are something that I want to exemplify in my coaching career. I'm going to do whatever I can to help propel this program to a national championship. Coach Staley has done so much in seven season, from ground zero to a national powerhouse, that I want to add whatever I can from my experiences."
Working most closely with the frontcourt in his three seasons with the Gamecocks, Chmiel’s efforts have helped the team to just the second 16-0 league record in SEC history (2016), the program’s fourth-straight SEC regular-season title and first NCAA National Championship (2017), and, in 2018, the fourth-consecutive SEC Tournament crown.
Chmiel has spent his first two seasons at South Carolina (2015-16, 2016-17) guiding the most daunting starting tandem in women’s basketball – Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson. The two First-Team All-SEC selections dominated the league in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Coates averaged a double-double each of her final two seasons at South Carolina, ranking among the nation’s top 20 in rebounding average each season (19th in 2015-16; 13th in 2016-17), becoming the first Gamecock since 1993 to average a double-double on the season. Wilson capped her career in 2017-18 becoming the first three-time SEC Player of the Year in league history and South Carolina’s first National Player of the Year, an honor she won unanimously. Wilson went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, the highest a Gamecock has ever been selected.
Chmiel spent the 2014-15 season at Minnesota where he served as the Golden Gophers’ defensive coordinator while also working with the guards. Despite a season-ending injury to a key member of his group, Chmiel helped the Gophers rank eighth in the nation in assists per game and 26th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. He also lent his WNBA experience to center Amanda Zahui B. as she prepared for her future in the league, beginning with being the No. 2 pick in the draft.
In a similar role for four seasons at Penn State, Chmiel was part of three straight Big Ten regular-season championship teams and saw the Lady Lions advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 twice in their three tournament appearances. Two of his guards went on earn All-America status and be drafted into the WNBA, and a third earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Chmiel worked with perimeter players and served as the academic liaison at San Diego State for two seasons, during which the Aztecs won back-to-back Mountain West Conference regular-season titles and the 2010 Mountain West Conference Tournament championship. In his first season, 2008-09, San Diego State earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 13 years, and Chmiel mentored another eventual WNBA Draft pick to win MWC Defensive Player of the year honors in consecutive seasons.
Staley tapped Chmiel for his first women’s college assistant coaching role during her penultimate season at Temple (2006-07), following his lone season as the head coach of the San Jose Spiders in the National Women’s Basketball League (2006). The two combined to guide the Owls to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a share of the 2008 Atlantic 10 regular-season title.
Chmiel first impressed Staley in 2005 when the then-Temple head coach was playing for the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting, for which he was an assistant coach. He also spent time in the league serving as an advance scout for the Indiana Fever and Detroit Shock.
Chmiel’s coaching career began at Feather River College (Calif.), where he had also begun his college playing career. After one season as an assistant coach for Feather River’s men’s team, Chmiel accepted the head position and led the program for four seasons (1995-99). He moved on to become the head coach at Lassen College (Calif.) and guided his teams to three Golden Valley Conference titles in his six seasons.
As a player, Chmiel thrived at Feather River, earning First-Team All-Golden Valley Conference honors before continuing his career and education at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
A graduate of Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y., where he earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies, Chmiel and his wife, Julie, have two daughters Skylar and Ivy.
The Chmiel Capsule
Coaching ExperienceSouth Carolina, assistant coach, 2015-present
Minnesota, assistant coach, 2014-15
Penn State, assistant coach, 2010-14
San Diego State, assistant coach, 2008-10
Temple, assistant coach, 2006-08
San Jose Spiders, NWBL, head coach, 2006
NWBL Runner-Up, 2006 Charlotte Sting, WNBA, assistant coach, 2005
Lassen College (Calif.), men’s head coach, 1999-2005
Three Golden Valley Conference titles, 2000, 2002, 2004 Feather River College (Calif.), men’s head coach, 1995-99
Feather River College (Calif.), men’s assistant coach, 1994-95
Playing ExperienceAlaska-Fairbanks, 1993-94
Feather River College (Calif.), 1991-92
All-Golden Valley Conference First Team, 1992
EducationExcelsior College, bachelor of arts in liberal studies, 2001