Maryland extends Frese's contract through 2010

Women's coach also gets reality-type TV show

College Basketball

October 20, 2004|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

After lifting the Maryland women's basketball program back to relevance over the past two years, Brenda Frese has received a two-year contract extension and the likelihood of greater visibility through a reality-type television show.

Frese, 34, will be under contract until 2010, the university announced yesterday, though she would be able to leave Maryland for another coaching job if the school were reimbursed.

Beyond the base compensation of $184,540, salary details were not disclosed. Frese previously received a base of $175,000 and additional compensation that brought the package to $275,000 in each of her first two seasons.

She said she was ecstatic over the extension, saying the school approached her about that possibility before the summer began.

"There's a lot of support here," Frese said, "and they continue to show that."

Support was a motivator for Frese's move from Minnesota, where she was the national coach of the year in her only season in 2002, to Maryland, which was motivated to re-energize a program that hadn't made the NCAA tournament more than three times in the previous decade.

Though the Terps won only 10 games in 2003, they finished this spring in a tie for third in the ACC behind highly regarded freshmen Shay Doron and Kalika France. The team advanced to the NCAAs, where it lost to Louisiana State in the second round.

In addition, Maryland was able to pick up the nation's second-ranked recruiting class last year - headlined by forwards Crystal Langhorne and Lauren Harper - part of what prompted Slam magazine to rank the team No. 12 heading into this season.

"There is no more effective coach than Brenda and no program in the country with a brighter future than the University of Maryland," said athletic director Debbie Yow, with her sentiment echoed by Larry Leckonby, a senior associate athletics director who supervises the women's basketball program.

While Leckonby said there was no rush to extend Frese's contract, it only made sense to begin discussions about it after Maryland had positioned itself behind NCAA tournament perennials Duke and North Carolina in the ACC pecking order.

Leckonby said he and Yow were "pleased with her work. ... It seemed natural to keep her for an extended period of time."

On other fronts, the team is expected to score far more exposure than it normally would, in the form of a weekly documentary to be shown on Comcast's sports network. It will be produced by former Maryland place-kicker and Washington sportscaster Jess Atkinson, also producer of football internet broadcast FridgeTV.

The thirteen 30-minute episodes of Under the Shell will resemble programs like ESPN's The Season. In the format, cameras gain access to a team throughout a season. The program will forgo the typical show of highlights and interviews.

"We wanted something unique," Frese said. "And this was something different than most coaches' shows. We want to present the light and intense moments. People would get the personalities of the people on this team. What goes on."

Said Atkinson: "This isn't pretend. We allow the viewers to understand what they go through to achieve what they're after."

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