|Alma Mater:||Arizona '93|
There was no better fit for the University of Maryland women's basketball program than head coach Brenda Frese. The 2002 Associated Press (AP) National Coach of the Year arrived in College Park with great expectations and has not disappointed. Reviving a once-prominent women's basketball program back to the national stage, her high work rate and positive attitude has resulted in 13 top-15 recruiting classes, three Final Fours, nine conference titles and a National Championship in 2006. Frese has balanced that strong work ethic with a fun and family-friendly environment, also becoming a wife and a mother of twin boys, giving birth to them in the midst of one of the most successful seasons in the program's history. With the birth of her twins in February of 2008, she becomes one of only six coaches to win a national championship and be a parent.
Since her first season at the helm when the team won just 10 games, Frese has guided Maryland to a National Championship in 2006, 14 winning seasons, 13-straight 20-win seasons, seven 30-win campaigns and 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 2006-07, Maryland also received its first-ever No. 1 preseason national ranking, remaining in the top spot in the polls for 10-consecutive weeks.
"This has been an incredible journey and winning the national championship in 2006 was just the beginning," Frese said. "My coaching staff and I had the belief we could win a national championship here at Maryland. With all the administrative support, the first-class facilities - we knew we could build something great. We did not set any timetables, but what we have achieved so far ... it's beyond expectations."
Former Athletics Director Deborah A. Yow courted the 2002 AP National Coach of the Year because of Frese's reputation for making amazing turnarounds and her relentless work ethic in recruiting. Described as dynamic, overachieving, determined and enthusiastic, the 47-year old coach is one of college basketball's stars. Standing atop the podium in Boston in 2006, Frese became the fifth-youngest coach (age 35) in NCAA history to win a national title and only the ninth to win in her first trip to the Final Four.
Despite claiming eight Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament titles prior to her arrival, Maryland advanced to new heights when Frese stepped on the scene. In her second season, she led the Terrapins to a tie for third place in the ACC standings - its highest finish since 1996-97. She's led Maryland to 11 top-four league finishes in her 15 years.
Frese has built the team's success around recruiting, hard work and a positive atmosphere. The instant she arrived on campus, she determinedly worked the recruiting trails in an effort to reclaim the elite status Maryland once had in the 1980s. Success came quickly and early. Before she even coached a game in the newly-constructed XFINITY Center, she received commitments from a pair of high school All-Americans, including Shay Doron, who went on to become a three-time All-ACC pick and a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) Draft selection. In all, 30 high school All-Americans have donned a Maryland uniform under Frese's reign.
Thirteen of Frese's recruiting classes have been ranked in the top-15, including 11 rated in the top-10 and six in the top five. In 2016, she and her staff signed the program's first-ever No. 1 recruiting class for the 2016-17 season. The landmark signings of Crystal Langhorne, Laura Harper, Jade Perry and Ashleigh Newman were rated No. 2 in the country, while the class of Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver was ranked No. 4 - the core of the Terps' national championship team. Her 2010 batch of Terrapins included four high school All-Americans and a No. 2 national ranking.
Frese's recruiting classes have lived up to their billing and her pupils have earned numerous accolades. The first Terp in 17 years to garner All-American nods in 2006, Langhorne was a three-time AP and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-American, the program's first multiple All-American. She was selected a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American in 2007, the first in school history since 1989, and then again received the accolade in 2008. Most recently, Alyssa Thomas earned All-American nods from the WBCA, USBWA and First Team honors from the AP in 2012. Thomas was the first sophomore in school history to be named a WBCA All-American and First Team AP All-American and the first to be a three-time All-American.
Toliver repeated Langhorne's AP, WBCA and USBWA All-American "trifecta" in 2008. The legendary point guard, however, became the first Terp in school history to be named to the AP's All-America First Team as a senior in 2009 - to go along with another set of WBCA and USBWA All-American laurels. Coleman, Toliver's classmate, also earned AP, WBCA and USBWA All-American honors at the conclusion of her illustrious senior campaign in 2009.
Frese's players have also received numerous conference honors. Alyssa Thomas became just the second underclassman ever to be named ACC Player of the Year in March 2012. She is the first underclassman in league history to be named Player of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season. Thomas was just the second player in league history to be named ACC Player of the Year in three straight years (2012, 2013, 2014), following Duke's Alana Beard.. In her final season, Langhorne was selected the ACC's Player of the Year, the first Terp to win the award in nearly 20 years. Toliver followed suit at the end of her senior year, winning the ACC's top-player honor in 2009 - the third Terp ever to win the award. In 2005, Langhorne became the program's first ACC Rookie of the Year since 1991. Coleman followed in her footsteps by nabbing the honor during the Terps' championship campaign in 2006. Center Lynetta Kizer and Thomas made it four Terps in six years to be named the league's top freshman when they won in 2009 and 2011.
In all, Terps have received 46 All-Conference citations in Frese's 15 years, including a school-record four in 2008 when Langhorne, Coleman, Toliver and Harper were selected and in 2012 when Thomas, Tianna Hawkins, Laurin Mincy and Lynetta Kizer were honored. Nine Terps have been First Team conference selections 16 times in Frese's tenure. Langhorne became Maryland's first three-time, first team all-conference selection and the first to be named All-ACC four times. Thomas followed with both. Coleman joined Langhorne as the lone Terps to ever be selected to an All-ACC team four times, stamping her three second-team honors with a first-team selection in 2009. In fact, of Maryland's five players all-time to be selected All-ACC three times or more, four of them were recruited by Frese (Doron, Langhorne, Coleman, Toliver).
Doron was the first freshman in school history to be named All-ACC in 2004 (third team). Langhorne was the highest-honored freshman in the program, garnering second team honors in 2005. In total, nine of Frese's players have been named to the ACC All-Freshman Team, most recently by Diandra Tchatchouang.
Numerous Terps have also garnered national recognition under Frese. Most recently, Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough were named to the Wade, Naismith, Wooden Watch Lists in 2016. Toliver became the first Terrapin to earn the highest point guard honor in the country, winning the Nancy Lieberman Award in 2008, after being a finalist the previous year. Several have earned spots on national player of the year candidate lists, making history in the fall of 2006. That year, for the first time ever, four players from the same team were selected preseason candidates for the WBCA's prestigious Wade Trophy when Doron, Coleman, Langhorne and Toliver were put on the Watch List. All five starters were tabbed preseason honorees for the Naismith Award, also a first in the history of the award.
Frese has seen success in each of her three stops in 15 seasons as a head coach and has made amazing turnarounds her calling card. She captured her 400th-career victory on Nov. 20, 2016 vs. Detroit. Her Maryland squads have posted a 403-111 (.784) mark in 15 years, advancing to at least the second round of the tournament in 13 of the last 15 years, including eight Sweet Sixteens, six Elite Eights and three Final Fours.
Maryland has rewritten several records over the last 15 seasons. In 2014-15, the Terrapins went 18-0 in conference play in their first season in the Big Ten. They were just the third team in history to go undefeated in Big Ten play. They won 28-straight games from Dec. 3, 2014 through March 30, 2015 to set a new school record. In 2007-08, the Terps became the first team in NCAA history to have four active players with at least 1,000 points on the same roster. That year, school records were broken for most home wins (21), which is also believed to be an NCAA record. The team opened the 2006-07 campaign winning 18-straight games, setting the program record for best start to a season. Maryland ended the 2008-09 campaign having won a school-record 36-straight home games, thanks to undefeated home marks in two successive seasons, and 40-consecutive non-conference games at the XFINITY Center. In the 2009-10 season the Terrapins extended that streak to 48, a Maryland basketball record for either program.
In 2005-06, the team's 34 wins set a school record, shattering the previous mark of 29. The championship squad also set new standards for highest road winning percentage (.900), points (3,166), field goal attempts (2,363), 3-point field goals (216), 3-point attempts (540), free throws (690), free throw attempts (924), team free throw percentage (.747), rebounds (1,720) and blocked shots (195).
Numerous individual records have also fallen since her recruits began donning a Terrapin uniform. Among the most notable are the career scoring and rebounding records, which Thomas shattered in her four year career. She is the all-time leading scorer (2,356) and rebounder (1,235). She also broke the school record in double-doubles (66) set by Langhorne, who also previously held the scoring and rebounding records. Frese recruits own five of the top-six career scoring marks in Maryland history, including Nos. 1-3 in Langhorne, Coleman and Toliver - the only three players in Terp annals with 2,000-plus points apiece.
In the last eight years, Maryland has been crowned an NCAA statistical champion 10 times. The Terrapins posted the nation's best rebounding margin in 2006 (+11.9), 2007 (+14.3) and 2016 (+15.1) and second-best in 2012 (+12.9) and 2013 (+13.7). In 2016, Jones led the country with her field goal percentage of 66.5 percent and Walker-Kimbrough led the NCAA, and set a Big Ten record, with her three-point field goal percentage of 54.5 percent. In 2017, Jones once again led the country with her field goal percentage of 69.0%. Also in 2006, the Terps shot 40.0 percent from 3-point range, tops in the country, while winning the most games of any team that year (34). In 2007, the team's 18.3 assists-per-game average was the best in the country, it owned the best shooting accuracy at 49.5 percent in 2008 and, in 2009, it once again claimed the top 3-point shooting mark in the nation (40.1 percent).
Maryland has been one of the most prolific scoring teams in the NCAA over the last decade, ranking No. 2 in scoring average in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and No. 3 in 2009. The Terrapins were third in the country in field goal percentage (.471) in 2013. In 2016, the Terrapins were No. 2 in the country in field goal percentage (49.6%) and No. 5 in scoring (83.2). In 2017, the Terrapins were No. 2 in the nation in rebounding margin (+13.9), scoring (89.3) and field goal percentage (51.0%), third in scoring margin (+24.9) and fourth in assists (19.8).
Maryland's rise into the upper-echelon of the country, has bolstered the excitement surrounding the team. Over the last 15 years, the program has ranked in the top-25 in the nation in attendance. In 2007, Maryland recorded the nation's largest one-season improvement in home attendance, averaging 9,533 fans in 16 games, almost double the average from the previous season (4,183) - with more than 150,000 people making their way through the Comcast Center turnstiles, a school-record. By the end of the '07 campaign, the Terps were sixth in the nation in average attendance and fourth in overall attendance, as 241,280 spectators filled the stands at home and on the road to watch the Terps play in 34 games. In 2008, Maryland hosted over 160,000 fans in 21 games and was ranked eighth in the nation in average attendance that year, followed by a No. 6 ranking in 2009 (133,336 in 15 games).
One of the highlights of the 2006-07 campaign was the announcement of two sellout games in XFINITY Center, the first- and second-ever in the young facility. The stands were filled to capacity when the Terps hosted North Carolina on Jan. 28, 2007, breaking the ACC's single-game record, the first women's basketball sellout since 1992. The record was matched in the regular-season finale on Feb. 18, 2007, when Duke came to College Park.
In the classroom, the Terps have also been all-star students. Thirty-one of Frese's Terps have been named to the Conference All-Academic Teams, while four, Kristen Confroy, Lori Bjork, Doron and Langhorne have received Academic All-American nods by ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA. In 2015, Malina Howard earned the Elite 89 Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.
Coaches to Win NCAA Title on First Trip to Final Four
Brenda Frese, Maryland - 2006
Kim Mulkey, Baylor - 2005
Carolyn Peck, Purdue - 1999
Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina - 1994
Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech - 1993
Tara VanDerveer, Stanford - 1990
Jody Conradt, Texas - 1986
Linda Sharp, Southern California - 1983
Sonia Hogg, Louisiana Tech - 1982
Youngest Coaches to Win NCAA Title
Marianne Stanley, Old Dominion - 31 years, 1985
Linda Sharp, Southern California - 32 years, 1983
Carolyn Peck, Purdue - 33 years, 1999
Pat Summit, Tennessee - 34 years, 1987
Brenda Frese, Maryland - 35 years, 2006
Frese's Coaching Credentials
• Head Coach, Maryland (Apr. 2, 2002-Present)
• Head Coach, Minnesota (June 2001-Apr. 2002)
• Head Coach, Ball State (Apr. 1999-June 2001)
• Associated Press National Coach of the Year (2002)
• WBCA Regional Coach of the Year (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
• ACC Coach of the Year (Coaches' 2013)
• Big Ten Coach of the Year (2002, 2015)
• Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year (2000)
• NCAA Champions (2006)
• NCAA Final Four (2006, 2014, 2015)
• Conference Regular Season Champions (2009, 2015, 2016, 2017)
• Conference Tournament Champions (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017)
• Six NCAA Elite Eight Appearances (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015)
• Eight Sweet Sixteen Appearances (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017)
• 14 NCAA Tournament Appearances ('02, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '11, '12, '13, '14, '15, '16, '17)
• Six Conference Players of the Year: ACC (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014); Big Ten (2002)
• Five Conference Rookies of the Year: ACC (2005, 2006, 2009, 2011); Big Ten (2002)
• 46 All-Conference honors: First team (19); Second team (15); Third team (4); Honorable Mention (5)
• 18 Conference All-Freshman Team honorees
• Five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
• Eight CoSIDA Academic All-District Selections
• 31 Academic All-Conference Honors
• 19 ACC Honor Roll Members
• No. 10 2002-03 Recruiting Class
• No. 2 2003-04 Recruiting Class
• No. 4 2004-05 Recruiting Class
• No. 7 2005-06 Recruiting Class
• No. 2 2006-07 Recruiting Class
• No. 10 2007-08 Recruiting Class
• No. 15 2008-09 Recruiting Class
• No. 2 2010-11 Recruiting Class
• No. 6 2011-12 Recruiting Class
• No. 4 2012-13 Recruiting Class
• No. 11 2013-14 Recruiting Class
• No. 10 2014-15 Recruiting Class
• No. 1 2015-16 Recruiting Class
Frese Coaching Tree
Jeff Walz (Head Coach at Louisville) - Assistant at MINN, MD
Tina Langley (Head Coach at Rice) - Assistant at MD
Joanna Bernabei-McNamee (Head Coach at Albany) - Assistant at MINN, MD
Jade Perry (Head Coach at SUNY Canton) - Player at MD
Stephanie Stevens (Head Coach at Gallaudet) - Staff at MD
Danielle Hemerka (Assistant at American, Saint Francis) - Staff at MD
Rhet Wierzba (Assistant at Indiana) - DOBO at MD
Billy Fennelly (Assistant at Iowa State) - Staff at MD
Laura Harper (Assistant at Florida) - Player at MD
Mike Bowden (Director of Operations for Louisville Men) - Staff at MD
David Adkins (Player Development for Wizards) - Assistant at MD
Winston Gandy (Assistant at Rice) - Staff at MD
Ryan Richman (Video Director for Wizards) - Intern at MD
Kyle Tarp (Director of Basketball Performance at MD) - Staff at MD
The Personal Side of Brenda Frese
• Bachelor of Arts in Communications (University of Arizona, 1993)
• Master's Degree in Athletic Administration (Kent State University, 1995)
• Three seasons as a varsity basketball player at the University of Arizona (1989-93).
• Selected to Pac-10 tour of West Germany (1989)
• Washington (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
• Four-year basketball letterwinner. Honorable Mention All-American and Iowa state champion in 1988. All-state and all-metro, 1986-88. Also four-year volleyball player, one-year track participant and one-year softball player.
• Married Mark Thomas on August 20, 2005.
• Twin sons, Markus William and Tyler Joseph, born on Feb. 17, 2008.
• Daughter of Bill and Donna Frese.
• Four sisters: Deb, Cindy, Marsha, Stacy. One brother, Jeff.