Maryland head coach Brenda Frese developed passion for coaching back Cedar Rapids Washington

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 12:20 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese had a season to remember. The Cedar Rapids native became the first coach in school history in men’s and women’s basketball to surpass 500 career wins and she was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year.

Since taking over as head coach at Maryland in 2002, Frese has just one losing season, three Final Four appearances and one national championship. Before she took over, the Terrapins had missed the NCAA Tournament seven out of the previous nine years.

“I had made three moves in four years to get to Maryland,” Frese said. “I believed it could be a national power.”

Her success came from learning from the best. She knew she wanted to be a head coach back in high school while playing for head coach Paul James.

“I would watch him,” Frese said. “He was so passionate about our team and our program, about coaching. I was hooked wanting to do it.”

“Her work ethic, she’s not going to be beat out by anybody,” James said. “That was true as a player and it’s true as a coach.”

Frese graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington High School in 1988, but even now, James has always supported Frese and her coaching career, whether it’s through a phone call, text or attending her games.

“When you went and played for Paul James, it wasn’t just throughout your high school career and you were going to be finished,” Frese said. “It was going to be for a lifetime. And that is how it’s been. It’s how I run my own program.”

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