Cindy Russo

2016 Distinguished Alumna

College: Athletics

Degree: M.S. '78

In 40 years of women’s basketball at FIU, former Head Coach Cindy Russo was the driving force for 36 of them. During that time, she guided FIU to 22 consecutive winning seasons (1981-2003) and at least 20 victories on 18 occasions. Russo led her teams to six NCAA Division I Tournament berths, seven Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournaments and two NCAA Division II Tournaments, in addition to winning eight regular season conference titles and seven tournament crowns. In January 2015, Russo made the difficult decision to retire. A native of Portsmouth, Va., she received her bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Old Dominion University (ODU) in 1975, where she began working as an assistant coach. She spent two years assisting at ODU before taking the head coaching position at FIU for the 1977-78 season. In 1978, she earned her master's degree in physical education from FIU.