Susan Robinson Fruchtl was named the ninth women's basketball coach in program history at Providence College on April 9, 2012. During the 2013-14 season, Robinson Fruchtl will lead the Providence College women's basketball program into its 40th season of competition, which also happens to coincide with a new era of the BIG EAST Conference.
Though the program's first season under Robinson Fruchtl's direction yielded just seven victories (7-23), the shift in the program's culture is evident - and has set the tone for the Friars' promising future.
The moment Robinson Fruchtl and her staff arrived on campus, the transformation began, and extended itself beyond the parameters of the basketball court. The program immersed itself in the local community and also worked hard to establish and strengthen relationships within the campus community.
A new standard was set for performance, not only on the court, but in the classroom - a standard that Robinson Fruchtl also lived by as a student-athlete at Penn State, where she not only earned the Wade Trophy, as the nation's top women's basketball player in 1992, but also claimed First-Team Academic All-America honors.
Another focal point for the program is alumni relations, and the importance of reaching out to, and building solid relationships with four decades of former student-athletes and their families. This outreach also includes friends, boosters and fans of the program. Robinson Fruchtl has introduced a new way to appreciate the program's supporters with the inception of the Champion's Club pre-game celebrations and also has extended invitations to members of the campus community to serve as honorary coaches during each home game. Each of these programs were very well received during their inaugural season, and will continue in 2013-14.
This season, Robinson Fruchtl welcomes her first full recruiting class. Upon her hire in April 2012, she signed current Friar sophomore Evi Iiskola (Espoo, Finland), but has benefited from a full year of recruiting to sign five players for the current campaign.
Robinson Fruchtl came to Providence College after spending the previous five seasons at Saint Francis University (Pa.) from 2007-12. She guided the Red Flash to three-consecutive Northeast Conference Championship Games, captured two conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011.
She garnered Northeast Conference Coach of the Year honors at the completion of the 2011 campaign after leading Saint Francis to a 22-11 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the NEC. That same year, the Red Flash won the NEC regular-season title and the tournament title. The team's 22 victories in 2011 are tied for third-most in program history.
During Robinson Fruchtl's tenure, a member of the Red Flash earned All-NEC honors six times and two others were selected to the NEC All-Rookie Team.
Robinson Fruchtl spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Penn State University (1993-98, 2004-07). The 1992 Penn State graduate helped guide her alma mater to a 161-83 record (.660) during her eight seasons on the sidelines, including four, 20-win seasons.
A former All-America selection and Penn State's only recipient of the Wade Trophy, which is presented annually to the best women's college basketball player in NCAA Division I, Robinson Fruchtl rejoined the Penn State staff in May of 2004 after serving as an assistant from 1993 to 1998. During her time at Penn State, she worked primarily with post players and assisted with the recruitment of student-athletes. It was under her guidance that former Nittany Lion Amanda Brown became a third-round selection in the 2007 WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
After leaving Penn State in 1998, Robinson Fruchtl enrolled at Slippery Rock University to pursue her Master's degree in secondary guidance. During that time she served as a volunteer assistant from 1998-2000 for the North Allegheny girls' basketball team. Robinson Fruchtl also has a Master's in higher education, which she earned from PSU in 1998.
In June of 2000, she took over as the head girls' basketball coach at Beaver Area High School, where she also worked as one of the school's guidance counselors. She helped revive the basketball program, and led the Cats to the PIAA Class AAA Playoffs in each of her final two seasons.
Then known as Susan Robinson, she graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in exercise and sports science in 1992 and was married to Tony Fruchtl in 1997. Robinson Fruchtl is one of only two players in Penn State history to accumulate 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, and was the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,253 points until she was passed by Kelly Mazzante in 2004.
In 1992, the same season she won the Wade Trophy, she was named a consensus All-American and earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. As a rookie in 1989, she was named Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year. Twice she was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Conference team, and in 1991, she was tabbed Player of the Year. The Center Point, West Virginia native served as captain of the 1990-91 PSU squad that compiled a 29-2 record and a No. 1 National ranking in the final AP poll of the regular season.
In 1990, Robinson Fruchtl was a member of the Junior National Team, and also played for the U.S. Select team that toured Europe. Following her collegiate career she played professionally for one season in Japan.