Frager to retire as Fairfield Women’s Basketball Coach following 2021-22 Season

Fairfield University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Joe Frager has announced that he will retire as the head coach of the women’s basketball program following the completion of the 2021-22 season, citing health reasons. Frager, who is entering his 15th season on the sidelines for the Stags, has led the team to 240 wins during that span and 429 victories in his 23-year collegiate coaching career.
“After much consideration, I have decided to retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season,” Head Coach Joe Frager said. “My decision is based largely on developments with my personal health. I care deeply about the players and coaches in our program and I felt that making this announcement now was in the best interests of our players, staff, and the program moving forward. I owe a debt of gratitude to Gene Doris, Father Jeffrey von Arx, and Mark Reed for giving me the opportunity to coach at Fairfield and for my continued work under current Athletic Director Paul Schlickmann and University President Dr. Mark R. Nemec. As always, I am totally committed to maximizing the potential of this year’s team and helping us attain our goals together. I believe in this group of young women and I look forward to tackling the challenges that we will face this season.”
In his 14 seasons as the head coach of the Stags, Frager has led the women’s basketball program to become a model of consistency, averaging 18 wins per season before the Covid-19 shortened season. In total, Frager has totaled 240 wins with the Stags and a .566 winning percentage, the highest in program history. He has helped lead the Stags to an outstanding 160-96 record in the conference with 13 winning seasons in the MAAC. The Stags have finished in the top three in the MAAC nine times under Frager.
“For 15 years, Joe Frager has been a model of integrity and commitment at the helm of Fairfield Women’s Basketball, conducting all aspects of his program in a first class manner,” said Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. “He has built a culture that puts team and family first, sets high expectations for his student-athletes as campus citizens and fosters high achievement for them in the classroom.  Coach Frager has led with compassion and a steady demeanor that belies a fierce competitive spirit. The byproduct of his principled approach has been an incredible string of consistent on-court success and countless teams of remarkable young women. We are grateful to Joe for his dedication to Fairfield and Stags Athletics.  He has been forthright and selfless in arriving at this difficult decision and we wish him and his wife Shirley continued good health and best wishes in the next phase of their journey together.”
“Throughout his tenure, Joe Frager has led the Women’s Basketball program to consistent success both on the court and in the classroom,” said Mark R. Nemec, Fairfield University President. “Joe’s leadership and mentorship of the athletes in his care has contributed to a strong legacy of excellence of women’s sports at Fairfield. I want to personally thank Joe for his contributions to Fairfield University, to the athletics department at Fairfield, and most importantly to the formation of his student-athletes. We look forward to cheering him on in his final year as head coach.”
Frager helped lead the Stags to five postseason appearances, including hosting the program’s first-ever WNIT contest.
Frager and the Stags found their success on the court through stifling defense. Fairfield has allowed just 54.7 points per game over Frager’s 14 seasons. That defensive energy was highlighted during the 2010-11 season where Fairfield allowed a program low 51.2 points per game, the fourth lowest number in the country.
Frager’s impact on the Stags goes beyond the wins and losses on the court, as he has helped mentor countless past student-athletes and coaches. Under his tutelage, 32 student-athletes were named to an All-MAAC squad with 11 of those earning First Team All-MAAC honors.
Several of those athletes were able to fulfill their dreams due to their collegiate success with 17 different players signing professional contracts during Frager’s tenure.
Frager also stressed the importance of hard work in the classroom with 68 student-athletes earning All-Academic honors from the MAAC, including a conference-high eight during the 2020-21 season. Most recently, Rachel Hakes graduated from the Dolan School of Business after earning the Bellarmine Medal by holding the highest GPA in the graduating class, with a perfect 4.0 mark.
An inductee into both the New England Basketball and Connecticut Women’s Basketball Halls of Fame, Frager has earned 429 victories in his collegiate career after 14 seasons with the Stags and nine with Southern Connecticut State University. In his final season with the Owls, Frager earned the Molton/Women’s D-II Bulleting National Coach of the Year after leading the squad to the 2007 Divisional II National Championship.
Frager’s 15th season with the Stags will begin on November 9 when Fairfield hosts Brown at Webster Bank Arena at 7 p.m.

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