Bennett suffers first career loss to the Cardinals in seven games
Renowned for her top-notch recruiting classes, NIU associate head women's basketball coach Marsha Frese enters her second season on head coach Kathi Bennett's staff. The former associate head coach at Illinois and 10-year coaching veteran brings far more to the table than her ability to draw in the nation's best talent.
"I'm very fortunate to have Marsha's feel for the game, her experience building programs, and her experience recruiting the Chicago area," Bennett said.
Frese's first recruiting class at NIU includes four all-state selections, three of which were McDonald's All-American candidates.
Thanks in part to Frese's wealth of basketball knowledge, the 2010-11 Huskies improved their win total by 30 percent, 75 percent in league games, from the year prior.
Coaching in the Mid-American Conference is familiar territory for Frese, who began here coaching career in the MAC. As an assistant coach at Ball State from 1999-2001, she helped deliver back-to-back winning seasons to the Cardinals for only the second time in school history. Tabbed with primary recruiting responsibility, she brought in 2001 MAC Freshman of the Year Johna Goff with in her first class at BSU.
A certified financial advisor, Frese provided an immediate return on investment in her next role as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers posted an 8-20 recorded prior to her arrival. With Frese on staff, Minnesota turned around its basketball stock, winning 22 games. Frese also flipped the fortunes of Golden Gopher recruiting, signing the No. 15 class in the nation, as ranked by Blue Star.
When Frese's sister Brenda Frese, who had been with Marsha as the head coach at Ball State and Minnesota, was tabbed to lead the women's basketball program at Maryland, it was only natural for Marsha join her on the Terrapins staff. As recruiting coordinator, Marsha Frese brought two all-Americans to Maryland, resulting in the 10th-best recruiting class in the country, according to Blue Star.
Frese's growth portfolio at Ball State, Minnesota and Maryland yielded an assistant coaching position at Illinois. In her first two years in Champaign, she spearheaded two top-25 recruiting classes, Illinois upset three top-25 teams and the Illini fought their way to the WNIT. A promotion to associate head coach fueled Frese further. In 2005-06, Illinois won a WNIT game and upended No. 15 Oklahoma. The next year, she helped coach Illinois to the WNIT Round of 16 and a win over No. 16 Michigan State. She also coached two record-setting individuals: Lori Bjork and Jenna Smith, both Frese recruits. Bjork set a new single season three-point record with 84 makes and was named Second Team All-Big Ten. Smith set the Illinois freshman single-season rebounding record.
As a player, Frese excelled on both the high school and college levels. A former Miss Iowa Basketball, Frese helped Cedar Rapids Washington High School to the 1988 Iowa state title. During her prep career, she led the state in scoring twice (1989 and 1990) and was named 1990 Miss Iowa Basketball by both USA Today and Gatorade Circle of Champions. A two-time first team All-Stater, Frese finished her high school career as one of the Top 25 all-time leading scorers in Iowa history. She has since been inducted into the Washington High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
At Rice, Frese tore up the nets, lettering all four years and finishing her career ranked sixth in three-pointers made. She also left with the Rice school record for best three-point field goal percentage in a single season.
Before embarking on her coaching career, Frese spent four years as a television sportscaster. After graduating from Rice University, she was the first female sports anchor for KALB-TV in Alexandria, La., and also served brief stints as a color analyst for Rice University and Louisiana College radio broadcasts.
Frese is married to Jason Elliott. The couple's first child, Kylan Nicole, was born on July 29, 2005. On June 9, 2011, the family welcomed their second child, Camden J.