Brenda Frese was named the Associated Press’ National Coach of the Year on Wednesday after leading the Maryland women’s basketball team to yet another Big Ten regular season and tournament title.
Wednesday’s announcement marks the second time Frese has won the award. She received the award back in 2002, after leading Minnesota to a 22-8 record and NCAA tournament appearance. She joins a rare list of four coaches to win the award multiple times, along with Geno Auriemma, Muffet McGraw and Kim Mulkey.
It’s the latest accolade in a season filled with them for Frese, who notched her school-record 500th win as Maryland women’s basketball coach earlier in the season. The Terps put together the best offensive season in Maryland basketball history, averaging 90.8 points per game.
“This one obviously is special for our team and our program because of everything we had to overcome as a team,” Frese said. “I have just so much gratitude for an award like this, an award for me is an award for your players and your staff and I can’t say enough, I’m extremely grateful.”
[Ashley Owusu’s fourth-quarter struggles derailed Maryland women’s basketball against Texas]
The season started out with a great deal of tumult for the Terps, who had to replace much of their roster after a flurry of transfers and graduations from last year’s Big Ten title-winning team. Frese helped develop a cadre of sophomores while bringing in the No. 2 freshman in the country, Angel Reese, to fill the holes in the roster.
Frese’s plans went slightly awry, as she had to adjust her strategies after Reese missed a large chunk of the year to injury.
But despite Reese’s injury and the struggles of navigating the season amid COVID-19, Maryland was dominant. The Terps went 26-3 in the regular season, went 17-1 inside the Big Ten, won the conference tournament handily and made it to the Sweet 16, where they were knocked out by Texas.
“It was a season like no other,” Frese said. “You would only spend your time through travel and in the gym but this sisterhood and this bond was created early.”
Frese also received the National Coach of the Year honors from ESPN and the Athletic and secured her fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year award earlier this season.