Oldfield brings sister to U hoops

Brian Hall

It was a family affair Wednesday as new Minnesota women’s basketball coach Brenda Oldfield named her sister, Marsha Frese, assistant coach.

Frese will also be the recruiting coordinator, a task she performed on Oldfield’s staff at Ball State.

“She is a heck of a recruiter,” Oldfield said. “She knows how to evaluate talent and exactly what kind of talent I want to bring in here.”

The University was able to bypass the state of Minnesota’s ban on hiring relatives by
having Frese report to an associate athletic director on employment-related issues.

The two went through a similar situation at Ball State.

“Once people see myself and Marsha work together, they realize how well it works,” Oldfield said.

One assistant now in place, Oldfield said it could take two weeks to a month to hire the rest of her staff.

“With the other three assistants,” Oldfield said, “I want to make sure I make the best fit in terms of this team, and this university, to be successful and ultimately to compete in the Big Ten.”

Oldfield is uncertain where the remainder of the coaching staff will come from but said she is very loyal to her assistants at Ball State.

“They know what it is like to work for me and what it takes to turn around a program,” Oldfield said.

As for the remaining members of former coach Cheryl Littlejohn’s staff – Danny Evans, Marc Wilson and Melissa Young-Kruse – Oldfield has asked them to send her their resumes if they are interested in applying for the position.

“I am going to evaluate all of them and make phone calls to hear what their references say about them,” Oldfield said. “I have to decide what I need and what skills that they possess. They have to fit as I place the staff together.”

Oldfield said there are advantages to both bringing in members of her staff while retaining members of the Littlejohn staff.

“With my previous staff, there is loyalty and a comfort level,” Oldfield said. “They know how I work and interact with people, and I wouldn’t have to re-teach things.

“The old staff brings a lot in the sense of a loyalty to the players, this team and this University. They know the inner workings of how to get things done, and their network is much better.”

Oldfield and Frese will begin recruiting high school players in July as assembly of her staff continues.

“You entertain thoughts and ideas, evaluate the coaching staff that is on right now and collect as much information as possible,” Oldfield said. “I think that’s what it’s all about to make the best decision.”

 

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