As her reputation for building and sustaining a winning and program and her coaching tree branches further afield, it makes sense that Maryland women's basketball head coach Brenda Frese could quickly fill the vacancies created when longtime assistants Tina Langley and Marlin Chinn accepted head coaching positions at Rice and Florida International respectively. Frese needed barely two weeks to hire Bett Shelby and Bryce McKey as the newest members of her staff. Both appear to be rather interesting choices.
Bryce McKey comes to Maryland after spending three seasons under two head coaches at Xavier University. The record of Xavier's women's programs in those three years was 13-16 in 2012-13 followed by an 8-23 season and most recently the Musketeers finished with 18 wins and 15 losses under first year head coach Brian Neal.
Prior to joining the staff at Xavier, McKey spent three years as a successful high school coach at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights. During his tenure, the school won three consecutive Division II Ohio State Championships. Ohio has been a fertile recruiting ground recently for Frese with current Terps Malina Howard, Chloe Pavlech and Kristen Confroy all hailing from that state.
Said Frese of McKey, "We first got to know Bryce McKey when he was a high school coach in Ohio. His teams were winners and played solid basketball." She added, "I've been watching his development as a coach. Now he's got a few years of college experience from working at Xavier as an assistant. This is the next step for him and I think he's ready for the challenge. I know there are a lot of people that are really excited for him. He knows our Ohio players well and they endorse him. That's critical for us, because we always want the best for our players."
"It's incredibly humbling and exciting to have the privilege of joining Coach Frese and her staff at the University of Maryland," McKey said. "I have always had a great deal of respect for the Maryland basketball program and can't wait to be a part of such an excellent tradition. It's an honor to have this opportunity and I'm eager to get on campus to begin working with the team."
Shelby comes to Maryland from Virginia Tech where she has been an assistant since May of 2013. Throughout her career, Shelby has been rather peripatetic. Before accepting the position at Virginia Tech, Shelby spent two years at Seton Hall. She started her career as Director of Basketball Operations at East Carolina before spending one season as an assistant at Tennessee Tech and a season at Southern Illinois.
One aspect of Shelby's career that likely drew Frese's attention was her recruiting success. At Southern Illinois, she was part of a staff that signed the 37th ranked recruiting class which was also the top mid-major class that year. At Seton Hall, Shelby had a role that was described as someone who coordinated aspects of recruiting, scouted opponents and coached the guards. The season before she left for Virginia Tech, Seton Hall picked up the country's 33rd ranked recruiting class.
Frese described Shelby as someone she's crossed paths with in a lot of gyms. "I've watched how hard she works. If you look at any program she's been a part of, her presence has elevated the team. People that she's worked with sing her praises as a relentless competitor, which is exactly what we want at Maryland. I'm excited to help her continue to grow here and watch her become a great addition."
Shelby considers it an honor to be at Maryland. "I am humbled, thrilled, and honored to be a part of Coach Frese's program at Maryland," Shelby said. "Coach Frese is the most dynamic head coach in the country. I am very appreciative and being part of her staff is something I have always dreamed about. This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime."
Of both her hires, Frese said, "The biggest thing for me is finding people that fit our program and the players on our roster. We've built our program around certain core values and those are critical standards to maintain. Those were very much in mind when we made these hires."