WU announces Randi Henderson as women’s basketball coach

Jon Lewis | Senior Sports Editor

This March, when Nancy Fahey announced her move to the University of Illinois, Washington University was faced with finding a new women’s basketball head coach for the first time since 1986. This Monday, the University announced that this search was over, unveiling Randi Henderson as just the third head coach in the history of the women’s basketball program.

Henderson comes to St. Louis from Charlotte, N.C., where she spent the past two years serving as an assistant coach for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s 49ers. Before that, Henderson spent most of her career in the Midwest. She grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa and played Division I basketball at the University of Iowa, where she helped the Hawkeyes win a Big Ten championship as team captain in 2001.

Henderson’s coaching career began as a volunteer high school coach in Athens, Ohio when she was a University of Ohio graduate student, and she quickly moved on to the NCAA after graduation, joining the coaching staff at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM). Henderson spent two seasons at UMM as an assistant before being promoted to head coach, where she coached the Cougars to a 16-10 record and won the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference’s coach of the year award in her first season.

After just one season as UMM’s head coach, Henderson moved on to coach at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In nine seasons with the Kohawks, Henderson won 20 or more games three times and posted 10 or more conference games six times. Her record of 155 wins as Coe’s head coach is the most in program history.

After two years as a Division I assistant, Henderson returns to head coaching with a program that is used to success. Wash. U. has won 23 UAA championships since the conference’s inaugural season in 1987 and five NCAA championships, the most recent coming in 2010. Every single one of these titles came under the leadership of Fahey, who, despite leaving for a Division I program, will still have an influence on the Bears, both in the standard for success that she set and in the name that she left on the Fieldhouse courts. Henderson, as the first new women’s basketball coach at Wash. U. in three decades, will have to manage the expectations that will carry over from the Fahey era.