SAN ANTONIO – Maryland coach Brenda Frese was honored as The Associated Press women's basketball coach of the year Wednesday for the second time in her career.
Frese received eight votes from the 30-member national media panel that votes on the weekly AP Top 25. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and North Carolina State coach Wes Moore each received seven votes.
“It’s special. Obviously its going to be one I never forget,” said Frese, who also was AP coach of the year 19 years ago when she was at Minnesota. “What makes it so special is having this journey through a pandemic with the most selfless group of people you could go through a pandemic with. No one had Maryland doing anything this season after the graduation and losses of all five starters last year.”
Maryland lost five starters from last year’s Big Ten championship team, but didn’t miss a beat, winning the conference for the sixth time in seven years and going 26-3. The Terrapins lost in the Sweet 16 to Texas.
Geno Auriemma, Muffet McGraw and Kim Mulkey are the only other coaches to win the award multiple times.
“I’m humbled and honored, that's some pretty elite company,” Frese said.
She won her 500th game at Maryland earlier this season, making her the winningest coach in program history, and has 569 total victories at Maryland, Minnesota and Ball State.
She was surprised by her father, Bill, who is 89 and has battled prostate cancer, with the news she had won the award.
“It was absolutely perfect. No better way to here that news come from my dad,” she said. “To have my entire family on the Zoom. I was speechless, blown away, completely surprised.”
Frese said that the season provided her with an escape from what her family was going through.
“It helped you didn’t have as much alone time to think about a lot of things,” she said.
When Maryland won the Big Ten Tournament, Frese's father and mother, Donna, were in the stands in Indianapolis. It was the first time Bill has been able to travel because of the pandemic. She gave him the net they cut down.
“Usually he gets a piece of it, but he deserved the whole thing,” she said. “It's a memory I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25