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Brenda Frese’s 500th win is the latest milestone in a historic career

The Terps’ head coach has won everywhere she’s been, and turned Maryland into a powerhouse.

Maryland v Connecticut Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Nearly 20 years following her introduction as a college head coach, Frese has done what few before her have ever accomplished—win 500 games.

Thanks to Maryland’s convincing win over Nebraska on Tuesday night, she hit the milestone that continues to add to her growing legacy. The Terrapins were playing in Lincoln, so she didn’t get the chance to win it in front of a home crowd. But the players still found a way to make it special.

With this past victory, Frese has a career record of 500 wins and 150 losses (.769), which shows that she’s winning games at a torrid pace. One of the main reasons for her success has been thanks to her recruiting abilities—Frese has 13 top-10 recruiting classes in her career, all have which have come in the past 15 years.

Frese got her start in coaching in April 1999. After a playing career at Arizona, she was given the keys to the castle at Ball State University to try to turn around a floundering program. She did just that, posting the first winning season since 1989-90 and back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. Frese didn’t stay in Muncie, Indiana, beyond that second year, but the Cardinals have been a successful program ever since thanks to her turnaround.

Frese did the same thing she did at Ball State with the University of Minnesota. The Golden Gophers had a strong program in the late 1970s and early 80s, but before she came to Minneapolis, the team endured seven straight losing seasons. In her first (and only) season, Frese went 22-8 with an 11-5 record within the Big Ten. She also brought the Golden Gophers their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1994. The Golden Gophers blew out UNLV in the first round before barely falling to North Carolina in the second.

And while Frese’s tenure in Minnesota was the shortest in program history, her impact cannot be overstated. Following that fateful 2001-02 season, the Golden Gophers had a winning record in 13 of the next 16 seasons, making the postseason in each of those years.

But then the call came for Frese to replace Chris Weller at Maryland, who had led the program for the past 27 seasons (and won 499 career games). Despite a ton of success from 1975-93, the level of play had fallen off. The Terrapins had just five winning seasons in the final nine years of the Weller era, making just two postseason appearances.

Unlike her previous two stops, Frese didn’t see instant success in College Park. In fact, the Terps finished with just a 10-18 record and a 4-12 mark in ACC play. But since that season, Maryland has been a true powerhouse program in the landscape of women’s college basketball.

From the 2003-04 season on, the Terrapins have a 432-102 (.824) record, posting a winning record in each year and making the NCAA Tournament 14 times in 15 tries. That’s included eight Sweet Sixteens, six Elite Eights and three Final Fours.

No season was more memorable, however, than 2005-06. Maryland entered the NCAA Tournament with a 28-4 record and a loss to North Carolina in the ACC Finals. The Terrapins won the first four games of their run by an average of 19.25 points, and they got revenge on the Tar Heels in the Final Four. Then in the national championship, the Terps beat fierce rival Duke to win the first title in program history.

Maryland hasn’t gotten back to the promised land yet, but after being in the mix each and every year, another championship is just a break or two away. With Brenda Frese at the helm, anything is possible.