Franqua Bedell is entering his sixth season as head women's basketball coach at Tallahassee Community College. Affectionately known as "Coach Q" to his peers and colleagues, Bedell was named head women’s basketball coach at Tallahassee Community College on June 6, 2013, just the third head coach in the school's 25-year history.
Immediately prior to taking over at Tallahassee, Bedell was an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he spent the 2012-13 season on Marlene Stollings’ staff with the Rams. He boasted ten seasons of coaching at the collegiate level when he joined the Eagles in 2013. In addition to Virginia Commonwealth, he spent four seasons at Mississippi State University (2008-12), two at Southeastern Illinois College (2006-08), two at Southeast Missouri State University (2003-05) and one at Hardin-Simmons University (1999-00), where he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the men’s basketball staff.
Bedell's already impressive resume got even better following a historic 2017-18 campaign when Tallahassee captured the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, the program's first and the College's first national championship in any sport since 1994 (softball).
Tallahassee's title run could, arguably, be labeled a "Cinderella Story." With three games remaining in the regular season, the Eagles weren't even assured of a postseason berth but won their final three regular season games, including one at nationally-ranked Northwest Florida State College, to force a one-game playoff with the Raiders. Tallahassee won that game, 57-53, to grab second place in the Panhandle Conference, its best finish since 2008, and a second straight berth in the FCSAA State/NJCAA District Tournament.
Despite falling in the semifinals for the second straight year, Tallahassee's body of work delivered an at-large berth to the NJCAA Tournament for the second straight year, the first time Eagles appeared in consecutive national tournaments in any sport. As the No. 11 seed, Tallahassee began its march to the championship with come-from-behind wins over (22) Western Nebraska Community College and (6) Wabash Valley (Ill.) College, setting up consecutive games against familiar foes.
Tallahassee faced Northwest Florida State in the quarterfinals, the teams' fifth and final meeting of the season, and came away with a 55-52 victory to advance to the national semifinals where it handed two-time defending national champion Gulf Coast State College a 78-68 defeat and advanced to its first-ever national championship game. Playing for the fifth time in as many nights, Tallahassee delivered its most complete performance in a 69-51 win over Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College to become national champions.
Bedell was named Coach of the Tournament and later received Spalding NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Coach of the Year honors.
Tallahassee finished the 2017-18 season with a record of 29-6, a school record for wins, and included a record-breaking 15-game winning streak to start the season, resulting in a No. 4 NJCAA ranking, the highest in school history.
Through five seasons, Bedell's win-loss record with the Eagles is 99-57. Combined with a 33-4 mark in his only season as head coach at Southeastern Illinois College (2007-08), he has an overall NJCAA coaching record of 132-61. He won his 100th career game on February 4, 2017, an 80-72 triumph at Northwest Florida State College.
Bedell has coached two NJCAA First-team All-Americans - Japonica James (2018) and Lawriell Wilson (2017). Both players also garned WBCA All-America honors in 2017, and Wilson was named Panhandle Conference and FCSAA Player of the Year while leading the Eagles to the NJCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
Bedell's first Tallahassee team ended with a record of 12-17, but included wins over a pair of nationally-ranked opponents - Darton (Ga.) State College and Panhandle Conference foe Gulf Coast State College.
Year two of the Coach Q Era saw marked improvement. The Eagles won 18 of their first 21 games, ascending to No. 2 in the FCSAA Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll and No. 10 in the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Poll. Tallahassee ended the season at 20-11, the first 20-win regular season since 2006-07.
A native of Fort Smith, Ark., Bedell graduated from Southside High School then attended the University of the Ozarks, in Clarksville, Ark., where he lettered in basketball (1995-96) and earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in sports and recreation management from Hardin-Simmons in 2001.
After graduating from Hardin-Simmons, Bedell returned to his hometown, where he began his coaching career in earnest as an assistant at his prep rival, Northside High School. In two seasons, he helped guide Northside to a 55-6 overall record and 26-2 mark in conference play. The 2001-02 season culminated with the Class 5A state championship and a No. 3 national ranking by USA Today.
Bedell’s next stop was his first at an NCAA Division I program and marked the beginning of his career in the women’s ranks – in 2003, he joined the staff at Southeast Missouri State. Over two seasons, the Redhawks recorded the program’s best overall record, best record in Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) play and advanced to the OVC Championship Game for the first time in school history. There, he also assisted in the recruitment of future OVC Player of the Year Tatiana Conceicao.
In 2005, Bedell received his first opportunity to be a head coach when he was hired to lead the freshman girls program at Notre Dame High School which, like Southeast Missouri State, is located in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
One year later, Bedell got his first taste of NJCAA competition at Southeastern Illinois College, where he spent two seasons, including one as head coach.
As an assistant coach in 2006-07, Bedell helped guide the Falcons to a No. 1 ranking in the final NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Poll and a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA Division I Basketball Tournament. Prior to the 2007-08 campaign, he was promoted to head coach and promptly guided Southeastern Illinois to a 33-4 record, a No. 6 national ranking and sixth-place finish at the 2008 NJCAA Tournament. For his efforts, he was named Coach of the Year by the Greater River Athletic Conference, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and NJCAA Region 24. Meanwhile, two of his student-athletes were named All-Americans by both the NJCAA and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
By this time, Bedell’s reputation for having a relentless recruiting style and tremendous work ethic was widely known and, following the 2008 season, he was hired as an assistant coach at Mississippi State. Over the next four seasons, Bedell helped revitalize the Bulldogs’ proud program.
In 2009, Mississippi State qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years. A year later, the Bulldogs secured a best-ever third-place finish in the Southeastern Conference and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. During his tenure at Mississippi State, Bedell was promoted to recruiting coordinator and he promptly secured a Top 50 signing class in both 2010 (47th) and 2011 (41st), according to ESPN. He also helped develop three future WNBA draft picks – Chanel Mokango, Armelie Lumanu and Alexis Rack.
Bedell’s success at Mississippi State opened the door for the opportunity at Virginia Commonwealth, where he reeled in the 38th-ranked recruiting class in 2013, according to Blue Star Report.
Bedell’s experience in student affairs goes well beyond the basketball court. Beginning as a student at the University of the Ozarks, he has worked as a student guidance counselor, student ambassador, resident assistant director, academic advisor and student activities director. While at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO), he also worked in student support services and received SEMO’s Faculty and Staff Award in 2006, an award voted on by students and given to the faculty and/or staff member who could be counted on most. At Southeastern Illinois, he also served as athletic director and fitness director in 2007-08.
Leadership development and community service have also played a huge role during Bedell’s career. He has two decades of experience as a motivational speaker and, in 2010, was one of 18 coaches selected to participate in the elite Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE) program for minority basketball coaches.
Bedell is an active member of the WBCA and Black Coaches Association.
He is married to the former Crystal Ness.