After title, work begins

Terps women's coach Frese will keep busy attracting recruits, fulfilling engagements

College basketball

April 07, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

As weary as she may be, there's no rest for Brenda Frese.

Over the eight days that follow her Maryland women's basketball team capturing the school's first national championship Tuesday night, Frese will throw out the first pitch at tonight's Orioles game, join the team at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, take part in a team banquet over the weekend and meet with players, coaches and administrators before embarking on a recruiting trip to Norfolk, Va., and Atlanta next weekend.

It's all part of the demand that follows when you're the coach of a team that is already being billed as the preseason No. 1 for next season and - with all five starters returning - a possible dynasty. And Frese relishes the challenge.

"The more success you have, the more your workload - in my opinion - increases," she said yesterday en route to the White House, where the team met President Bush. "We didn't get into this position without hard work, and the minute you get fat, happy and satisfied, that rubs off on your players, your coaches and your staff. A national championship validates how hard you have to work every day."

Such commitment is not entirely new for Frese. Athletic director Debbie Yow likes to point out that the day after the Terps upset then-No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Feb. 9, Frese eschewed collecting congratulations in her office to recruit in Indiana.

"She has a work ethic as good and as strong as anybody I've seen professionally in my 29 years in this enterprise," Yow said last month. "She just works it."

One thing Frese will continue to work on is keeping the recruiting pipeline open to College Park. Programs that win national titles usually attract blue-chip prospects, and Maryland's appeal is limitless.

However, the team's youth - only two seniors will graduate this May and juniors Shay Doron and Aurelie Noirez will graduate in 2007 - could influence some recruits to take their talents to schools where playing time is unrestricted.

But ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins said many prospects nowadays expect to battle for playing time and might be swayed by the Terps' moxie and attitude.

"There's going to be a kid or two that's going to look at Maryland and say, `You know what? I'm probably not going to play much there. So I'm going to look elsewhere,'" Mowins predicted. "But there are a couple of other kids out there who will look at Maryland and say, `You know what? I like the attitude of that team and how unselfish they are and I am willing to learn from them and be with them every day in practice and fight for more time.' That's the situation that I think a couple of kids will look at and say, `That's for me.'"

Frese pointed out that the program will look to offset the graduation of the class after Doron and Noirez, which will include sophomores Crystal Langhorne, Laura Harper, Ashleigh Newman, Jade Perry and transfers Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood and Christie Marrone and redshirt junior Kalika France.

"With the graduation of Shay and Aurelie and the following year of our core players, [potential recruits] are really coming in at a perfect time," Frese said. "They're really not going to have to sit and wait, so I think that's pretty exciting. They're going to be able to come in and have an immediate impact."

Frese has been witness to the impact winning a national crown can have on a coach. She has already cleaned out her cell phone's voice mailbox, which holds a maximum of 35 messages, twice and estimates she has received 100 e-mails from people congratulating her on the team's success.

So far, none of those communications involve another program, but considering that George Mason coach Jim Larranaga was being pursued by Seton Hall, is a call to Frese out of the realm of possibility?

For her part, Frese rejected the idea quickly yesterday.

"I'm not going anywhere," she said with a laugh. " ... There's not a better job in the country than the one I have right now." edward.lee@baltsun.com

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