Valparaiso University head coach Keith Freeman took over as the sixth head coach in the history of the Valparaiso University Crusader women’s basketball program prior to the 1994-1995 season.
The school’s all-time winningest coach, he enters the 2011-2012 season with a record of 276-226 (.571) at Valpo. Beginning his 24th season of coaching women’s collegiate basketball overall, Freeman owns a 405-273 (.597) lifetime mark. Freeman has led the Crusaders to more than 50 percent of the school’s victories during the program’s history.
Over the past 13 seasons Freeman’s squad has recorded 18 or more victories eight times. With his exceptional overall mark, his teams have won more than two-thirds of their games at the Athletics-Recreation Center, compiling a 150-72 (.676) home record since he took over the program.
On Dec. 4, 2010, Freeman won his 400th collegiate victory as a head coach, a 59-52 overtime win against Coastal Carolina.
Freeman won his 250th game at Valpo on Jan. 3, 2009, an 86-43 triumph over Youngstown State. That same season he led the Crusaders to a fourth place finish in the Horizon League, and the Brown and Gold hosted a quarterfinal game in the Horizon League Tournament. It marked the first time Valpo had hosted a conference tournament contest since 1995.
When Valparaiso moved to the Horizon League prior to the 2007-2008 season, Freeman left the Mid-Continent Conference as the league’s all-time winningest coach. He coached more games, 381, than any other coach in the league, and his 229 victories were tops in the Mid-Con as well. In addition, Freeman’s .601 winning percentage ranked fourth in league history.
The 2006-2007 season saw Freeman lead his Crusaders to a 20-11 record overall, Valpo’s fifth 20-win season in school history, and the fourth under his guidance. His squad finished second in the Mid-Continent Conference on the season, the seventh time in 10 years the Brown and Gold finished either first or second in the league.
The 2005-2006 campaign saw Freeman post his 200th victory at Valparaiso, a 65-31 win over UMKC on Dec. 30, 2005.
Freeman led the Brown and Gold to its first outright Mid-Continent Conference title in school history in 2001-2002, while also leading the Crusaders to the Mid-Con Tournament title game. In addition, he orchestrated the biggest turnaround in the nation in 2001-2002 when comparing records to the previous year, and was named Mid-Con Coach of the Year for his efforts as Valpo finished 26-7.
Valpo made its first postseason appearance in school history in the 2002 Women’s National Invitation Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals after defeating Michigan and Ball State, both on the road. His Crusaders earned a home contest in the quarterfinals against Houston as well before ending their tournament run. Freeman was a finalist for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association 2001-2002 Coach of the Year award for his efforts during the season.
The following year, 2002-2003, Freeman guided the Crusaders to their first Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title, and the Brown and Gold’s first appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament as Valpo faced Purdue in the first round.
In 2003-2004 Freeman led Valpo back to the NCAA Tournament for a second time. This time the Crusaders threw a scare into nationally-ranked Kansas State in the first round as the program registered the fourth 20-win season in school history. Freeman also surpassed the 300-win plateau for his career when the Brown and Gold defeated Oral Roberts at home 65-47 on Feb. 16, 2004.
Freeman also led the Crusaders to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship game in 1999-2000, one year after winning a share of their first ever Mid-Continent Conference regular season title. That season also marked the year Freeman became Valpo’s all-time winningest coach when the Crusaders defeated Illinois State on the road on Dec. 19. He also won his 100th game on the Valpo bench on Feb. 10 of that season against UMKC. His 200th career coaching victory also came at Valpo as he led the Crusaders to a victory over Prairie View A&M one year earlier.
Freeman was named Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year for the 1997-1998 season after leading Valpo to a 14-2 conference record and a second place finish. It marked the second time Freeman received the honor, as he was voted 1995-1996 Mid-Con Coach of the Year as well.
He has guided numerous outstanding student-athletes while at Valparaiso, including 23 All Mid-Continent Conference selections, seven of whom were named to the league’s First Team. He had nine players named to either the All-Newcomer squad or the All-Freshman team, including the Newcomer of the Year during the 2001-2002 season. Freeman also instructed the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year during the 2006-2007 campaign.
In three seasons coaching in the new conference, Freeman had a First Team All-Horizon League selection as well as a Second Team All-Horizon League pick. He also had a Horizon League All-Newcomer Team member for the first time in 2008-2009, a feat duplicated in 2010-2011. In addition, Freeman also has had three players voted to the Horizon League’s All-Academic Team and has he had 24 players named to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll in the fall and/or spring semesters for having at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average.
Freeman guided the first player to reach the WNBA from Valparaiso as well as the Mid-Continent Conference. Marlous Nieuwveen played with the Los Angeles Sparks during the 2005 season.
Freeman has international coaching experience as well, having led an Athletes In Action (AIA) squad in Poland and Germany. During the summers of 2005, 2006, and 2007, he also conducted an AIA clinic in Poland. In 2007 the clinic had more than 300 participants attend the event.
In addition, Freeman has run a coaching clinic at Valparaiso University every fall for the past 16 years. He has had some of the top collegiate and high school coaches on campus to present to other area coaches.
Freeman arrived at Valpo from Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., where he was the head women's basketball coach from 1990-1994, compiling a stellar four-year record of 85-28. The Great Lakes Valley Coach of the Year in 1991-1992, Freeman's team won the Midwest Regional Championship, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Lady Pumas won the GLVC Championship and were ranked as high as fifth nationally.
Third on the all-time wins list in Saint Joseph's women's basketball history, Freeman's teams were consistently ranked in the nation's top-20 throughout his tenure.
Freeman also served as Athletics Director at Saint Joseph's during the 1993-1994 academic year and as Assistant Athletics Director from 1991 to 1993.
Prior to his years at Saint Joseph's, Freeman was the head men's basketball coach at Huntington (Ind.) College from 1985 to 1989. Freeman took over the Huntington program at age 21, making him one of the youngest college coaches in the nation.
Huntington College was also Freeman's basketball home from 1983 to 1985, during which time he skippered the women's basketball team. His 1983-1984 squad won the National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship and finished runner-up in District 21. Freeman was named head women's coach at age 19, and he held the distinction of being the youngest collegiate coach during the 1983-1984 season.
During his two seasons as women's coach, Freeman compiled an impressive 44-19 record and was named District Coach of the Year in 1985 when Huntington won the NCCAA District 3 Championship.
Freeman graduated Cum Laude from Huntington College in May of 1986, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. He also completed his Master of Business Administration at Ball State University in August of 1987.
Actively involved at Valpo, Freeman also is a member of the WBCA.