The father of Brenda Frese, the longtime coach of the Maryland women’s basketball program, died Sunday morning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. William “Bill” Frese would have celebrated his 90th birthday on Saturday.
Brenda Frese announced on March 9, 2021, that her father was battling prostate cancer. She said the disease had spread to his bones.
“We had 89 wonderful years with my dad,” Brenda Frese said at the time. “We are not ready to let him go.”
Frese coached the No. 8 Terps (12-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten) in a 69-49 loss to No. 11 Michigan (14-2, 5-1) Sunday at Xfinity Center in College Park.
Frese has dealt with cancer within her family before. Her then-5-year-old son Tyler celebrated the end of three years of chemotherapy treatments for pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg Children’s Center on Dec. 10, 2013. He has been cancer-free since then.
According to an article in The Gazette, a newspaper in Cedar Rapids, Frese enjoyed reading, eating ribs and exercising daily — sometimes with soup cans in his hands or walking around with photos of his 16 grandchildren who served as inspiration.
Brenda Frese said her father was a “Girl Dad” before the label became popular.
“He was like that with all of the kids,” she said. “He was always around sports — rebounding, taking us, supporting us at all of our games. Obviously the rock of our family and obviously for every single one of us as kids.”
Frese was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 40 years. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Donna, six children and 16 grandchildren.