|Born||October 29, 1973|
Michelle Marciniak (born October 29, 1973 in Macungie, Pennsylvania) is a former All American collegiate and professional basketball player who played point guard in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). As a floor general, Marciniak competed for two National Championships during her three year career at the University of Tennessee. Michelle led the Tennessee Lady Vols to their 4th National Championship and was named MVP in the 1996 Final Four held in Charlotte, NC. She was most recently the recruiting coordinator/assistant coach of the women's basketball team at the University of South Carolina from 2003-2008. Marciniak was responsible for two back to back top recruiting classes, rated #18 in 2007 and #7 in 2008, the highest ranked class ever recruited at South Carolina.
Marciniak is currently the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SHEEX, Inc.(Irmo, S.C.), the world's first performance fabric bedding company with globally patented technology. Inspired by the feel and breathability of athletic performance fabrics, Marciniak along with Co-Founder and Co-CEO Susan Walvius shook up the bedding world in 2007 by inventing a whole new “Performance Home” category in home textiles.
Allentown Central Catholic High School
Marciniak was the consensus top player in the nation during her high school senior year...named National Player of theYear by 'Parade Magazine', Naismith National Player of the Year, and Gatorade National High School Player of the Year as a senior in 1991 at Allentown Central Catholic High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At Allentown Central Catholic, she competed in the highly respected East Penn Conference (the forerunner to the Lehigh Valley Conference), where she scored 3,025 points for Central Catholic. Her No. 23 jersey has since been retired by the school in recognition of her extraordinary high school basketball achievements. Sports Illustrated wrote about Marcinak playing with a picture of Michael Jordan in her sock, while Michelle was just a junior in high school, in an article titled "She's the Ponytailed Princess of Hoop."
University of Notre Dame and University of Tennessee
After a year at the University of Notre Dame, Marciniak transferred to the University of Tennessee, where she quickly became a leader of the dominant University of Tennessee Lady Vols women's basketball team under head coach Pat Summitt. Summitt had recruited her in high school and in fact, went into labor as she was sitting in the Marciniak's home on a recruiting trip. Summitt quickly wrapped up the visit and flew back to Knoxville to give birth to her son, Tyler. "Spinderella" as Marciniak was affectionately known because of her free wheeling, spinning and slashing style, became a crowd favorite at Tennessee. She scored over 1,000 points and still is in Tennessee's top ten all-time in assists and three-point scoring, after only three years of play.
With Marciniak at point guard, the Lady Vols won consecutive Southeastern Conference championships in 1995 and 1996. In the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship, Tennessee came in second to the Connecticut Huskies in 1995. The next season, Tennessee wasn't expected to be as strong, but lost just four games during the regular season and eventually returned to the Final Four, where the Lady Vols earned a rematch with UConn. Marciniak led the team to an 88-83 overtime victory, then avenged an earlier loss to Georgia to claim Tennessee's fourth national championship. During the season, Marciniak became the focused leader and played a methodical style of basketball that Pat Summitt demanded from her point guards. Marciniak was chosen the Final Four's Most Valuable Player for her inspired play. She graduated in 1996 with a degree in psychology.
Marciniak was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the USA in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Marciniak averaged 7.4 points per games, had 24 assists, second highest on the team, and recorded 21 steals, highest on the team.
Marciniak began her professional career in the women's American Basketball League, playing all two and half seasons of that league's existence. She played for the ABL's Portland Power, Long Beach Stingrays, and Nashville Noise. After her first season as a professional, Marciniak was a first team All Star in a league loaded with talent. Marciniak was signed by the WNBA's expansion Portland Fire in 2000 where she was an integral part of Portland's success. She then[when?] signed with the Seattle Storm eight days later. Michelle found her home in Seattle the next three seasons while playing for the Storm. She was a fan favorite, and received the WNBA Community Service Award due to the countless hours she put in to bring fans into KeyArena.
More significant was her extremely hard-nosed play on the court, as a nationally televised tussle with Los Angeles Sparks player Latasha Byears earned Marciniak a reputation as the Storm player that opponents least wished to foul. Byears intentionally threw a ball at Marciniak's face, and Marciniak, in response, charged the much larger and stronger Byears.
Marciniak retired at 29 years old, after the Storm's 2002 season, to become an assistant coach for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the powerhouse SEC Conference, where she had played as a collegian. Marciniak served as an assistant on the staff of head coach Susan Walvius from 2003-2008. She is also an occasional color analyst for WNBA and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball games on ESPN Radio and other media outlets.
In 2007, Marciniak and Walvius founded SHEEX, Inc., a company that is said to offer "the world's first athletic-performance sheets". Constructed from materials commonly found in modern athletic wear, SHEEX provide similar moisture-wicking, temperature-control, breathability and stretch not found in traditional cotton sheeting.
In 2007, Michelle M. Marciniak dared to dream after experiencing an “aha” moment and in that instant, an entrepreneur was born. Now, as the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SHEEX, Inc., she has transferred her prodigious skills from the athletic arena into the business world and carried her visionary ideas of cutting-edge bedding into a United States patented product: SHEEX Performance Sheets and the SHEEX Sleep System, as the world's first in that category.
The same competitive drive which propelled Ms. Marciniak to be one of the best players in the WNBA and collegiate ranks fueled her to raise $13.1 million in equity financing to get the SHEEX enterprise off the ground and into the marketplace. In seven short years, and just the fourth year in retail, SHEEX has enjoyed a meteoric climb in the bedding industry as a result, in part, of Ms. Marciniak’s entrepreneurial initiative and determination.
The Aspen Institute took note of her ambitious approach to entrepreneurship and included Ms. Marciniak in the 2014 Class of Henry Crown Fellows. The Henry Crown Fellowship program mobilizes a new breed of leaders, all under the age of 45, to tackle the world’s most intractable problems. All are proven entrepreneurs, mostly from the world of business, who have reached a point in their lives where, having achieved success, they are ready to apply their creative talents to building a better society.
Additionally, Ms. Marciniak, along with fellow SHEEX Co-Founder and Co-CEO Susan Walvius, were recognized by receiving an Ernst & Young Winning Women Award, a prestigious honor celebrating the top female entrepreneurs in America In October 2012.
As a result of her noted entrepreneurial skills, the dynamic and inspiring 40-year-old Ms. Marciniak has become a highly sought-after speaker and panelist. Among the organizations she has shared her vision and story include: 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, Speaker; 2013 ReCharge America Roundtable; 2013 Delegate at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Bali; 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award E-Xchange and as a member of the Global Women in Business Advisory Council in Monaco; the EY Women Athletes Business Network; 2013 Ernst & Young Women in Sports International Roundtable in Rio de Janeiro; 2012 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators annual conference; 2012 Women in Cable Telecommunications Leadership Conference; keynote speaker at the Bank of America Global Women’s Conference; speaker/presenter to the editors of the major women’s fitness magazines and a member of a White House roundtable as a spokesperson for woman-owned small business in America alongside other female executives representing Fortune 500 companies.
Since the initial SHEEX invitation in 2009, Ms. Marciniak has been actively involved in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, with participation extending through the 2013 conference. Ms. Marciniak and Walvius were invited to address 500 of the top female executives worldwide, only two years after the SHEEX brand was created. In 2011, Ms. Marciniak served as a panel speaker and mentor at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference, Most Powerful Women High School Notebook Mentoring.
Before she was delivering her message of entrepreneurism, Ms. Marciniak was selected as the unanimous 1991 National High School Player of the Year and carried her role-model persona and big-dream attitude to the basketball court at the University of Tennessee where she played for legendary coach Pat Summitt. With Ms. Marciniak running the team, the Lady Vols made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament and into two Final Four National Championship games (1995, 1996). She reached the pinnacle of her collegiate success leading her team to the 1996 NCAA title and securing the NCAA MVP and Naismith All-America honors. In November 2012, the University of Tennessee honored Ms. Marciniak for her extraordinary basketball career and contributions to UT women’s athletics by inducting her into the 2012 Class of the Lady Vol Hall of Fame.
Following Coach Summitt’s announcement of her diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, in August 2011, Ms. Marciniak was called on to speak on behalf of her former coach. Ms. Marciniak has volunteered to serve in the capacity as a spokesperson for Summitt and now serves on the Board of the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund for Alzheimer’s.
In tandem with, or on behalf of her Coach, Ms. Marciniak has addressed a number of groups including: keynote at the 2014 Drug Delivery Partnership Annual Convention; keynote at Innovation 2013 and the 2013 Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conferences sponsored by the Mayo Clinic; the 2012 IWF World Conference in San Francisco speaking to 2,000 of the most influential female leaders and executives in the world; the keynote speaker at Accelerant Technologies in July 2012, and at the request of Time, Inc., to provide the moving tribute and introduction of Summitt when she was presented as the 2011 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year.
From basketball superstar to entrepreneur, Ms. Marciniak still approaches every challenge and opportunity with the grit and determination that made her an outstanding athlete. She was a 10-year USA Basketball veteran who began her six-year professional playing career in the ABL en route to becoming a fan favorite before retiring from the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in 2002. A consummate competitor, Ms. Marciniak elevated to the basketball coaching ranks at the University of South Carolina in 2003, where she worked alongside her SHEEX co-founder, Ms. Walvius. While at USC, Ms. Marciniak inked back-to-back top-10 nationally ranked recruiting classes before she and Ms. Walvius co-founded SHEEX in 2007 and stepped away from collegiate coaching in 2008.
Ms. Marciniak was an academic standout at the University of Tennessee where she was on the Dean’s List, collecting multiple academic awards while attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1995. She is a native of Allentown, Pa.
- Michelle Marciniak biography at University of South Carolina Athletics Web Site
- Michelle Marciniak at WNBA.com
- SHEEX.com Official Site