Katie O'Connor Returns To Kansas Women's Basketball Staff
May 5, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A long-time member of head coach Bonnie Henrickson’s staff, Katie O’Connor will return to Lawrence on the sidelines of the Kansas women’s basketball team it was announced Saturday. O’Connor has spent 10 seasons as an assistant under Henrickson, most recently at KU from 2005-11.
O’Connor replaces Tory Verdi, who became the head coach at Eastern Michigan, and comes back to KU after spending the 2011-12 season as an assistant at Virginia.
“We are very excited to welcome Katie back to the Kansas family,” Henrickson said. “She is a passionate coach whose experience and knowledge will be beneficial for our program. Obviously, her familiarity with the Big 12 Conference and Kansas will also be huge assets.”
While at Virginia, the Cavaliers went 25-11 in 2011-12, its most wins since the 1999-2000 season, and advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals for the second-straight season. O’Connor worked with the team’s post players, a role she previously held at Kansas and will take over once again upon her return.
While guiding the KU frontcourt in her earlier time in Lawrence, O’Connor developed Crystal Kemp into an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection in her first season on the Kansas sidelines. Kemp became the first Jayhawk post player to earn such an award since 2000-01 and went on to earn First Team accolades for the 2005-06 season. Kemp eventually became just the sixth Jayhawk to accumulate over 1,600 career points and 800 career rebounds and was the first KU player to be named the Big 12 Player of the Week twice in a single season.
O’Connor also spent time working with the Jayhawk wing players where she also made her presence felt. Danielle McCray went from Honorable Mention All-Big 12 to one of five players on the First Team after O’Connor took over back court duties. McCray averaged 21.6 points per game off of improved shooting and she also led KU in rebounding, steals and blocks. McCray earned Honorable Mention All-America honors and also earned a spot on the 2009 World University Games Team.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Jayhawk program again,” said O’Connor. “This was a very unique opportunity for me and I look forward to continuing to build success at Kansas.”
A former player for Bonnie Henrickson, O’Connor spent three seasons as a full-time assistant coach at Virginia Tech. She had on-court coaching responsibilities working with the perimeter players and also assisted in areas such as planning team travel and film coordination. She also served as the director of the women’s basketball summer camps.
Before becoming a full-time assistant coach, O’Connor spent two years as an administrative assistant at Virginia Tech. In that role, she helped to coordinate daily operation of the basketball office and oversaw Tech’s booster club, the Hokie Hardwood Club.
O’Connor, a native of Chapel Hill, N.C., was a four-year starter for the Hokies from 1995-99. She helped lead Tech to an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament title in 1998, an A-10 regular-season title in 1999 and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
In her senior season, the program enjoyed its most successful year, posting a 28-3 record, a Sweet 16 appearance and the program’s highest ranking of No. 9. As a senior, O’Connor was also named the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Most Improved Player.
O’Connor graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.