Coach Jean Freeman

Jean Freeman
Jean Freeman
Jean Freeman
Jean Freeman

2011 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach, University of Minnesota

Freeman spent 31 years as the Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team head coach, retiring following the 2003-04 season. Upon her retirement, Freeman served as the U of M Club Hall of Fame President until January of 2010. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Freeman was a member of the swimming and diving team from 1968-72. She served as a Golden Gopher assistant coach for one season before being named head coach in 1973. Freeman was Minnesota’s head coach before the women’s athletics program began in 1975-76. During her career, Freeman led Minnesota to back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 1999 and 2000 and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times. At the Big Ten level, Freeman coached 48 athletes to Big Ten titles in 53 individual events and 23 relay events. Under Freeman’s tutelage, five Gophers earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Freeman earned her 200th career victory on January 27, 2001 against Purdue and Illinois and led the Gophers to an upper-division finish in the Big Ten Conference 19 of 24 seasons. Minnesota teams placed at the NCAA Championships in each of the last 20 years of Freeman’s tenure, guiding the Gophers to seven top-20 national finishes at the NCAA Championships and highlighted by a 10th-place showing in 1992. She was inducted into the Minnesota Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame on October 28, 2000.

Freeman coached 58 swimmers to a total of 203 All-America citations. More than 100 swimmers garnered All-Big Ten honors during Freeman’s reign, during which time the Gophers posted winning records in 20 consecutive seasons. With Minnesota’s first-ever Big Ten championship in 1999, Freeman earned her fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year Award. In May of 1999, Freeman was named the recipient of the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy, awarded by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The award is the highest of its kind in the United States and is presented annually to an individual for having contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and healthful recreational activity at schools and colleges. Freeman was the first female to win the award in its 41-year history. In 1995, Freeman was named to Team Speedo, an advisory board for swimming and diving, and was one of only three women serving on the board. She also received an award from the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA), recognizing over 15 years of excellence in college coaching and service to the coaching association. Freeman, a coach national and international acclaim, was the assistant coach to the women’s USS Junior National Team that won the Quebec Cup in 1992. In 1991, Freeman helped coach the West team to a gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival. Freeman was inducted into the Minnesota Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1992. She was also an assistant coach at the 2003 World University Games, held in South Korea. Coach Freeman passed away on October 15th, 2010.