Women’s basketball head coach Randi Henderson leaves WashU to become Iowa assistant coach

| Managing Sports Editor

Randi Henderson spent seven seasons at the helm for the Bears (Clara Richards | Student Life)

Washington University women’s basketball head coach Randi Henderson is stepping down from her role with the Bears, the WashU Athletic Department announced on Wednesday, June 26. Henderson will become an assistant coach at the Division I University of Iowa — who, for the last two seasons, has finished as national runner-up led by star point guard Caitlin Clark.

Henderson started for the Hawkeyes as a player for three seasons (1998-2001), was a team captain, and finished 11th on the program’s all-time scoring list. In 2017, Henderson took over at WashU from Hall of Fame coach Nancy Fahey, who won five national championships. Prior to her time with the Bears, Henderson coached the University of Minnesota Morris and Coe College, two Division III schools, and served as an assistant at the Division I level for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

After Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder quit, Jan Jensen was promoted to take over the program. Jensen selected Henderson as one of two new assistant coaches to replace other departures and fill out her inaugural staff. Henderson will join a Hawkeye team that will figure to be among the best in Women’s College Basketball.

Henderson departs St. Louis after seven seasons, which included four trips to the NCAA tournament and one University Athletic Association (UAA) title. Her team had a record of 103-54 during her tenure and finished with winning records in every campaign. In the 2018-19 season, when Henderson led the Bears to a UAA title, she was named the d3hoops.com Central Region Coach of the Year, and her coaching staff earned UAA Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

“We are appreciative of Randi Henderson leading our program for the last seven seasons, adding to the legacy of WashU Women’s basketball,” Athletic Director Anthony Azama said in a statement published by the WashU Athletic Department. “She established a culture of excellence, inclusivity, and empowerment while simultaneously impacting lives beyond the sport of basketball.” 

During Henderson’s tenure, former players criticized what they saw as a toxic environment that led a number of players to leave the team over the last few years, as a Student Life report revealed this May. While many players identified struggles with “differential treatment” from Henderson’s coaching staff, other players described her coaching style as “tough love.”

Henderson’s departure from WashU leaves an opening at the helm of one of Division III’s premier women’s basketball programs. The Athletic Department statement announced that “a national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.”

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