Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese picked up her 500th win against Nebraska on Sunday night, becoming the winningest coach in program history. The previous record was held by Hall of Fame coach Chris Weller with 499 wins.
“I remember when I came to Maryland and Chris Weller had 499 wins and I was like ‘I can’t imagine coaching that long,’ And here I am,” Frese said.
Frese took over the reins in 2002 and is now in her nineteenth season in College Park. Frese has led the Terps to 15 NCAA tournament appearances, 12 conference titles, six Sweet Sixteen’s, six Elite Eights, three final fours and one national championship in 2006.
Prior to taking over the Maryland program, Frese served as the head coach of Ball State and Minnesota. Coming into the season, Frese had a career winning percentage of .775, good for ninth all-time among Division 1 coaches.
Frese is known as a prolific recruiter with an innate ability to deal with turnover every year but continuously remain on top. It’s no different this year as the Terps are ranked No. 9 in the country and sit atop the Big Ten with a 14-2 record. Only two starters from the current team are returning players, both sophomores in Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu.
Despite the roster turnover and adapting on the fly to a national pandemic that affected how often the team could meet, Frese has once again built a top team in the country that is just taking off. For Frese, achieving the milestone with this group is incredibly special.
“There’s not another team I would rather celebrate this milestone with,” Frese said.
After the final buzzer sounded in the Terps beatdown over Nebraska, Frese was showered with joy from both players and coaches. The celebration continued into the locker room where a water party ensued in Lincoln. For Frese, the moment was simply “incredible.” While there are certainly loftier goals the team has their eyes set on ahead, the Terps will celebrate this one with their beloved coach a bit longer as they had back to College Park.
“When you look at the resiliency of this team and what they’ve been through this season, it’s appropriate that we are able to celebrate this 500th win together on the road for one another,” Frese said.
The consistency jumps out to Frese as she reflects on her time at Maryland.
“Most importantly is just the consistency factor,” Frese said. “To be able to do this at such a high level, day in and day out with such incredible student athletes and families and staff and support staff to be able to make this happen.”
Beyond the remarkable achievements, the most important thing to Frese over her 17 years has been the relationships she’s developed and the lives she’s impacted.
“For me, it’s always been not about the wins, but about the relationships,” Frese said.