Henrickson Announces The Hiring Of Tory Verdi And Chester Nichols To Kansas Women's Basketball Staff

April 13, 2010


Kansas women’s basketball head coach Bonnie Henrickson announced the hiring of Tory Verdi and Chester Nichols as assistant coaches on Tuesday afternoon. Verdi and Nichols join the Jayhawk staff following the departures of Karen Lange, the new head coach at MidAmerica Nazarene, and Tamika Raymond, who left KU to be closer to her husband who resides in Dallas.

“We are thrilled to be adding two high quality individuals in Tory and Chester to our staff,” said Henrickson, who recently completed her sixth season at the helm of the Kansas program. “Both Tory and Chester are excellent coaches who come from diverse backgrounds, but have the commonality of having achieved success on many different levels.”

Verdi joins the Jayhawk staff after spending the last five seasons at Big 12 foe Nebraska. With Verdi on staff, the Cornhuskers recently completed their most successful season in school history, compiling a 32-2 record, a Big 12 regular season title and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

“I am excited about Tory’s skills as both a recruiter and a post coach,” said Henrickson. “He was instrumental in the development of three All-Big 12 performers at Nebraska, all of which were also WNBA draft picks. In addition, his familiarity with the Big 12 Conference in general will be a huge asset to our program.”

While at Nebraska, Verdi served as the offensive coordinator and also coached the post players, including 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year Kelsey Griffin and All-Big 12 performers Cory Montgomery and Danielle Page. Verdi came to Nebraska after serving as the acting head coach at Columbia University from February through April of 2005. He was the head assistant coach at Columbia from October 2004 until February 2005.

Before taking his position at Columbia, Verdi spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons as an assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA. He helped the Sun to the Eastern Conference title in 2004 and the Eastern Conference finals in 2003. He also spent time working as a special assistant for the Sun during the 2005 season before joining the Nebraska coaching staff.

Along with his experience as a collegiate and professional women’s coach, Verdi has extensive experience as a collegiate men’s coach. Before joining the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun in 2003, Verdi served as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Western Connecticut State in Danbury, Conn.

Verdi helped Western Connecticut State to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003. He also served as an assistant men’s coach at the University of Hartford from 1996 to 1997, after working as an assistant men’s coach at his alma mater, Keene State College in New Hampshire, from 1995 to 1996.

Verdi was born in New Britain, Conn. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Keene State College in 1996, before adding a master’s degree in computer technology from Hartford in 2003.

Verdi and his wife, Heather, have a six-year-old son, Tyler, a three-year-old daughter, Avery, and an infant son, Bradyn, born in June of 2009.

Nichols comes to Kansas after spending the 2009-10 season at Central Florida where he served as the recruiting coordinator and worked with the UCF perimeter players, a role he will assume at KU.

“Chester has seen major success recruiting on a national level,” said Henrickson. “He is also an excellent coach who will specialize working with our perimeter players, an area he has also excelled in during his career. With all of our returning talent on the perimeter and our incoming recruiting class of guards, I am looking forward to him joining our program.”

Prior to his year at UCF, Nichols spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at West Virginia University. A native of Ocala, Fla., Nichols is widely considered one of the nation’s top recruiters, and he played an instrumental role in bringing five top-20 recruiting classes to WVU. Following the 2009-10 season, several of Nichols’ WVU signees garnered all-conference honors as junior guard Sarah Miles was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the conference’s all-second team. In addition, junior guard/forward Korinne Campbell garnered all-BIG EAST honorable mention accolades.

During Nichols’ tenure at WVU, the Mountaineers appeared in three NCAA tournaments and advanced to the second round on two occasions. He also helped guide West Virginia to the championship game of the WNIT in 2005 and to the BIG EAST championship game in 2006. Nichols was recognized as one of the nation’s best assistant coaches by earning an invitation to Nike’s prestigious Villa 7 Coaches Consortium in Beaverton, Ore., in the summer of 2008.

Prior to his time at WVU, Nichols worked with the adidas/Premier Players, an AAU organization in Ocala. He spent one season as the head coach of the Florida Starzz and chief evaluator of the Rookie Sensations. Nichols has also worked with as an assistant coach at Central Florida Community College, where he helped coach one NJCAA All-American and three Mid-Florida all-conference players.

Nichols is a 1997 graduate of Greenville College, where he played three seasons of varsity football while pursuing his degree in special education.