The following is a press release courtesy of the University of Minnesota:
The University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development will honor the late Jean K. Freeman Saturday, Dec. 6, by renaming the University Aquatic Center the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. The legendary Freeman, who passed away in 2010, was a student-athlete for the Gophers and then coached Minnesota’s swimming and diving program for more than 30 years.
The University will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Aquatic Center. A 3:30 p.m. reception will follow in the Commons Hotel Ballroom (615 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN). Media who would like to attend the ceremony should RSVP to [email protected].
Freeman swam for the Gophers from 1968-72 and graduated from the Department of Physical Education in 1972. She served as an assistant swim coach at Minnesota for one season, before being named the program’s head coach in 1973. Freeman held the position for 31 years before retiring as the women’s head coach in 2004.
“The Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center will be a tribute to an outstanding alumna, coach, role model and a forever-loyal Gopher,” Minnesota Senior Associate Head Women’s and Men’s Swimming Coach Terry Ganley said.
During her three-decade tenure, Freeman produced 27 winning seasons, which included two Big Ten Championships in 1999 and 2000, and 208 dual meet victories. Freeman coached two National Champions, 175 All-Americans, 14 Big Ten Champions and more than 1,000 student-athletes.
Among her many honors and accolades, Freeman was a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (1984, 1986, 1996, 1999) and was inducted into the Minnesota Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1992. Freeman was also inducted into the “M” Club Hall of Fame in 2000, the University of Minnesota Aquatics Hall of Fame in 2006 and the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 1999, Freeman was the first woman to win the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy awarded annually by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. She was a founder of “The Coaching Summit,” which is a leadership and mentoring group of Division I women swimming coaches.
Freeman was awarded The 1998 Presidents Club Award by University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof, in honor of her partnership in building and sustaining excellence at the University, and in 2010, President Robert Bruininks presented her the Outstanding Leadership Award for her exceptional service to the University and the significant contributions made to its people and communities.
In addition to her accomplishments at Minnesota, Freeman coached at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1991, the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that won the Quebec Cup in 1992 and the U.S. team that competed in South Korea for the 2004 World University Games. Outside of her professional commitments, she worked to establish the Learn to Swim Program in Minneapolis.
The Jean Freeman Endowed Scholarship was established in 1998. It is now awarded annually to a female swimmer who represents unyielding motivation and a committed spirit that is complimented with a deep-seeded dedication to personal growth: the embodiment of the scholarship’s namesake.
Freeman passed away on October 14, 2010, following an extended illness.