Illini Notes: Illinois women add aide

Illini Notes: Illinois women add aide

Illinois has hired Marsha Frese as a women''s basketball assistant coach.

Frese spent last season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Maryland, where her sister, Brenda, is the head coach. The Frese sisters won a high school state championship together in their playing careers. They also coached on the same staffs at Ball State and Minnesota.

In one season at Minnesota, the Freses helped the Gophers orchestrate one of the country''s most impressive turnarounds. Minnesota won eight games in 2000-01 but 22 games in the sisters'' first season.

"I''ve really admired from afar what Marsha has been able to accomplish both as a coach and a recruiter," Illinois coach Theresa Grentz said. "She is a rising star in the coaching profession with a qualified and well-rounded background.

"Marsha''s people skills and eye for evaluating talent will serve the Illini well. We are thrilled that she has chosen to spend time with us at Illinois."

Frese coached under her sister at Ball State from 1999 to 2001, turning that once-downtrodden program into one of the Mid-American Conference''s most successful.

Before beginning her coaching career, Frese was the first female sports anchor for KALB-TV in Alexandria, Va., from 1996 to ''99. She was a four-year letter winner at Rice, graduating in 1995.

She was the 1990 Iowa Miss Basketball by USA Today and Gatorade Circle of Champions.

Cashman cashes in.

Former Illini center fielder Brandon Cashman has signed a free-agent deal with the Texas Rangers, becoming the fourth ex-Illini this year to sign a professional baseball contract and the second with the Rangers.

Cashman, a two-year starter for the Illini after transferring from Iowa State, is in a rookie minicamp at the team''s spring training facility in Arizona and eventually will join the Arizona League rookie club.

The career .315 collegiate hitter led the UI with eight home runs this season. He joins pitcher Dave Mazurek (Rangers), catcher Sean Patrick (Baltimore Orioles) and first baseman Andy Schutzenhofer (St. Louis Cardinals) in the minor leagues.

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