COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland head women's basketball coach Brenda Frese announced the hiring of assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Karen Blair Tuesday. Blair brings over 18 years of coaching and recruiting experience to College Park. Blair joins Shay Robinson and Terry Nooner on Frese’s coaching staff.
Blair coached at Virginia Commonwealth for the past three seasons. Prior to her time in Richmond, Blair served as an assistant and interim head coach at UT Arlington, and an assistant at Colgate, North Texas, and her alma mater, Southern Methodist.
"I am thrilled to welcome Karen into our Maryland family,” Frese said. “She fits our team and program and makes us stronger. Karen brings a wealth of experience on all fronts, which will elevate us in all areas. She's a triple threat with her knowledge of the game, organization of recruiting and her connection to her players. As excited as I am about what Karen will bring to our program, our fans are going to enjoy her because she's even better as a person."
Blair helped the Rams sign a top 30 recruiting class and the top class in the Atlantic 10. Over her time in Richmond, the Rams made a WNIT appearance and recorded the second-most wins in school history with 23.
“I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to work at the University of Maryland and to be part of one of the premier programs in the country,” Blair said. “Coach Frese and her staff have done a remarkable job of building a culture of success, competing at a high level year in and year out. What impressed me the most during this process is the family atmosphere. I immediately felt right at home, and I am excited to represent Maryland Women's Basketball. I would like to express my gratitude to Coach Frese and the hiring committee for the amazing opportunity to be part of the Terp family.”
Blair spent two seasons at North Texas, where she led the development of the Mean Green's guards and assisted with game strategy, scouting and served as the team’s defensive coordinator.
A Michigan native, Blair spent two seasons as the top assistant and eventually, interim head coach, at UT Arlington from 2011-2013. Blair coordinated the Mavericks' national recruiting efforts and headed the signing of an ESPN Hoopgurlz.com recruit and a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American. She coached UT Arlington in its final eight games of the 2013 season and led the team to a win over eventual WAC Champion Idaho.
From 2009-2011, Blair served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Colgate.
After graduation, Blair spent 10 years coaching at her alma mater, SMU. She helped lead the Mustangs to a pair of Conference USA regular season titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and two WNIT bids. SMU reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2000.
Blair was a three-year starting point guard for the Mustangs from 1995-1999 and led SMU to NCAA Tournament berths in 1996, 1998 and 1999. A two-year team captain, Blair was named Second Team All-WAC in 1998. She racked up academic accolades and graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration from SMU in 1999.