Marianna Freeman

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Marianna Freeman was the first Delawarean to coach in the NCAA basketball tournament. She was head coach at Syracuse University for 10 years.

At Smyrna High School, he was first-team All-Henlopen Conference in 1973, 1974 and 1975, the last three years before All-State teams were chosen in girls basketball. She started for four years at
Cheyney (Pa.) State, which ranked in the top 10 nationally in NCAA II in all four years. In 1979, the Wolves were unbeaten in the regular season.

After two years as a graduate assistant at Slippery Rock, she returned home to take care of her ailing grandmother and become head basketball coach and coordinator of women’s sports at Delaware
State. In her second season, the Hornets won the 1981 MEAC regular-season championship. She then joined her college coach, Vivian Stringer, as an assistant for 10 years, at University of Iowa.

In 1993, Syracuse hired her to run its women’s basketball program. She was the Orange’s first African-American head coach in any sport. Inheriting a 4-14 team, she had Syracuse over .500 in her
third year, highlighted by a 62-59 victory over defending national champion Connecticut. In 2001-02, the Orange defeated defending national champion Notre Dame in the Big East tournament to earn an
invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Freeman was assistant coach of the USA Junior Women’s Team in 1996, and succeeded Rudy Washington in 1998 to become the second president of Black Coaches Association. She was inducted into the
Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.





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