Bonnie Henrickson - Women's Basketball - Kansas Jayhawks

Bonnie Henrickson

TITLE Head Coach


In 11 years as women’s basketball head coach, Bonnie Henrickson guided the Jayhawks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2012-13), each time coaching the team to the Sweet 16 appearances. Kansas also earned berths in five National Invitation Tournaments (NIT), reaching the championship game in 2009.

Despite Kansas being a program rich with history and tradition, Henrickson accepted the task of taking over a team coming off its fourth-consecutive losing season when she arrived in Lawrence in 2004. She immediately rolled up her sleeves and went to work and helped the Jayhawks return to moments of prominence.

In her 11 years at the helm of the Kansas program, Henrickson helped take the Jayhawk program from the cellar of the Big 12 Conference to a perennial contender. In addition, KU advanced to postseason play in seven of her 11 seasons, including six of the last eight years, highlighted by back-to-back NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 runs.

During the 2013-14 season, Henrickson saw two more Jayhawks earn All-Big 12 honors for the first time in their careers after Chelsea Gardner was named All-Big 12 First Team and Natalie Knight earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades. Gardner also became the third-straight KU women’s basketball player to be selected to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) All-Region team. Gardner is just 20 points away from joining the Jayhawks’ 1,000-point club entering her senior season and will become the 10th Kansas player to reach that milestone under Henrickson’s watch. Henrickson has guided a total of 18 Kansas players to All-Big 12 honors in her tenure and 31 to academic accomplishments.

This past season, Kansas snapped Big 12 foe Baylor’s 53-game conference winning streak after defeating the Lady Bears, 76-60, at Allen Fieldhouse. It marked the fourth-consecutive season under Henrickson’s tutelage that the Jayhawks have upset at least one nationally-ranked team.

In 2012-13, Henrickson led Kansas to the round of 16 after defeating nationally-ranked Colorado and South Carolina in tough opening-round games. KU concluded the season with a 20-14 record, its third season in a row with 20 or more wins, and a spot in the in the top-25 USA Today Coaches Poll. Senior Angel Goodrich earned WBCA All-America honorable mention and First Team All-Big 12 accolades. Fellow senior Carolyn Davis earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors. Davis, Goodrich and Monica Engelman each ended their careers as 1,000-point scorers. Goodrich was drafted by the Tulsa Shock as the 29th overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.

With the best postseason effort by the Jayhawks since 1998, Henrickson guided Kansas to a 21-13 record during the 2011-12 season and NCAA Tournament victories over Nebraska (57-49) and Delaware (70-64), before falling to Tennessee in the Sweet 16. All-America honorable mention, All-Big 12 Second Team selection and the nation’s assist leader, Goodrich led the way for the Jayhawks during the NCAA Tournament. KU also had All-America honorable mention and All-Big 12 First Team honoree Davis for the first 23 games, before a knee injury sidelined her for the remainder of the season.

With more than just putting wins back on the record, Henrickson has produced a program Jayhawk fans have come to embrace. A Big 12 single-game attendance record was set when Kansas hosted South Florida in the 2009 WNIT Championship game, as 16,113 fans supported the KU women’s basketball program in historic Allen Fieldhouse. KU finished the 2008-09 season ranked in the Top 25 on the NCAA attendance chart and ranked fourth in the country in attendance increase.

KU advanced to postseason play for the fourth-straight season and fifth time overall under Henrickson in 2010-11, as the Jayhawks advanced to the second round of the Women’s NIT before falling to Duquesne. KU posted its second 20-win season under Henrickson and recorded 20 or more wins for the second time in three seasons as the Jayhawks concluded the 2010-11 season with a 21-13 overall record.

Kansas saw much of its success through Davis, a sophomore at the time, who averaged a team-leading 19.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game on her way to First Team All-Big 12 accolades. Davis led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally shooting 66.0 percent from the field. Additionally, KU saw the return from injury of Goodrich, who averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game on her way to being named a finalist for the V Foundation Comeback Award.

In 2009-10, Henrickson guided the Jayhawks to their first national ranking in a decade. Kansas appeared in the Associated Press Poll for nine-consecutive weeks to open the season, ranking as high as No. 18. Jayhawk senior guard Danielle McCray was named the 2009 Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and was well on her way to All-America honors prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury in early February. The injury did not keep McCray from being drafted as she was the seventh overall selection in the 2010 WNBA Draft, becoming the first Kansas player to be taken in the draft under Henrickson. In addition, Davis was named a Freshman All-American and to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

Henrickson’s 2008-09 squad had a “break-out” performance of sorts, demonstrating down the stretch of the season all the fruits of its labor. KU started the season strong, compiling an 11-2 non-conference mark. The Jayhawks struggled early in Big 12 Conference play, opening with a 2-9 mark versus league opponents, before turning the corner. KU closed conference action winning four of its last five games, including wins over ranked teams No. 21 Iowa State and No. 5 Baylor. Kansas concluded the regular season with a 6-10 mark in Big 12 play, marking the most conference wins for Henrickson in her five seasons at KU. The Jayhawks’ seventh-place finish was their highest in Henrickson’s tenure.

The Jayhawks advanced to the WNIT for the second-consecutive season and third time under Henrickson, only this time they were more determined than ever to make all of their hard work pay off. KU reeled off four-straight wins, including a victory over Southeastern Conference member Arkansas and a hard-fought win at New Mexico, one of the most notoriously tough places to play in all of the NCAA. Despite falling to South Florida in the title game, Kansas still finished the 2008-09 season with a 22-14 overall mark, giving the Jayhawks their most wins since the 1998-99 season.

In addition to the team having a breakthrough season, McCray burst onto the national scene with an eye-popping season of her own. McCray, who was named First Team All-Big 12, became the first Jayhawk since Lynn Pride in 1999 to earn All-America Honorable Mention honors as she was feted by both the Associated Press and State Farm. Additionally, she collected three Big 12 Player of the Week honors and was selected as an All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year. Following the season, McCray was invited to try out for USA Basketball’s World University Games Team. After becoming one of 12 players chosen for the team, she traveled to Belgrade, Serbia for the 2009 World University Games where she helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal.

Henrickson’s 2007-08 squad posted a winning record, finishing the campaign with a 17-16 mark, while two players were honored by the league coaches with McCray being tabbed All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and center Krysten Boogaard appearing on the Big 12 All-Rookie Team. The Jayhawks advanced to postseason play for the second time in Henrickson’s first four seasons with a trip to the WNIT.

Henrickson’s young Jayhawk squad in 2006-07, consisting of seven freshmen and just two seniors, came on strong at the end of the year, winning five of their last seven games. Kelly Kohn and McCray each took home Big 12 newcomer awards as Kohn was the Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 17, 2006) and McCray was honored as a member of the Waco Tribune-Herald Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

A resurgence in Jayhawks’ women’s basketball was quite evident throughout the 2005-06 season as Henrickson’s second campaign was capped off with a berth to the WNIT – KU’s first postseason appearance since 2000. Under Henrickson’s guidance that season, Kansas finished 17-13 to mark its first winning season in six years. Along the way, KU set a school record with 12-straight victories to open the season and snapped a 36-game drought against ranked opponents by defeating No. 23 Texas.

Using the qualities that earned her the 2005 Carol Eckman Award – an award given by the WBCA which recognizes a coach who exemplifies spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose – Henrickson developed Crystal Kemp and Erica Hallman into All-Big 12 selections for the second-straight year.

In 2004-05, Kansas posted its most wins (12) and conference wins (five) in four seasons, and placed eighth in the Big 12 Conference – the highest Jayhawk finish in five years. In the process, Henrickson developed Kemp and Hallman into KU’s first two All-Big 12 selections since 2000-01.

Henrickson and her staff have not only guided their athletes to victories on the court, but many have achieved tremendous accomplishments in the classroom at KU. Under Henrickson, the overall team GPA has steadily risen since she arrived in Lawrence and during the 2007-08 school year the Jayhawks achieved a team-record 3.11 GPA. In her 10 seasons, the Jayhawks have earned 29 Academic All-Big 12 Team appointments.

Henrickson arrived at KU after establishing herself as one of the nation’s brightest young coaches at Virginia Tech, where she was head coach for seven seasons and guided the Hokies to a record of 158-62 and seven postseason appearances. Under her leadership, Virginia Tech reached the NCAA Tournament five times, the WNIT twice and won 20 or more games every season.

In 2003-04, Henrickson led the Hokies to a 23-8 overall record, including a 10-6 mark in the Big East. Virginia Tech advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second-straight year before bowing out to No. 5 Penn State.

When Henrickson took over at Virginia Tech for the 1997-98 season, she orchestrated the biggest turnaround in school history. She guided her team to a 22-10 record, the school’s first Atlantic 10 Conference title and an NCAA second-round appearance just one season after the Hokies had finished last in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 10-21 record.

Henrickson, who owns a total of 21 years of coaching experience, has helped guide teams to postseason play 15 of the last 17 years. After serving as assistant coach for the Hokies from 1988-93, Henrickson was elevated to associate head coach for the 1993-94 season. That year, Virginia Tech improved its record to 24-6 and made its first-ever NCAA appearance. The following season Tech recorded its first NCAA tournament win.

Henrickson took her talents to the University of Iowa to serve as an assistant coach in 1995-96. Her two-year stint at Iowa produced two Big Ten Championships and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1996. In her two years, Iowa had a record of 45-14.

In July 2000, she was the head coach of the gold-medal winning women’s USA Basketball team that traveled to Taiwan for the R. William Jones Cup competition. This appointment marked her second stint with a USA Basketball team; she also served as an assistant coach on the Team USA squad which won the silver medal at the 1999 World University Games.

Her 1998-99 Hokies posted a school-best 28-3 record, including a 15-1 conference record and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. For her efforts, Henrickson was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year. She also was a finalist for national coach of the year honors.

During her first stint at Tech, Henrickson was credited with recruiting some of the  Hokies’ biggest stars, including All-American Lisa Witherspoon, Virginia Tech career statistical leaders Michelle Houseright and Katie O’Connor, three-time GTE Academic All-American Christi Osborne and honorable mention All-American Jenny Root, who finished her career as the Hokies’ all-time leading rebounder.

Henrickson, a Willmar, Minnesota, native, graduated from St. Cloud State University in 1986. As a player, she helped SCSU win three Northern Sun Conference championships and advance to three NCAA Division II quarterfinals.

In her four years as a player, SCSU compiled a 97-25 overall record, including a 31-4 mark in her sophomore season. She still ranks among the school leaders in points (4th – 1,731), rebounds (3rd – 995), free throws (1st – 507) and free throw percentage (4th – .790). She also was named to the all-conference team three times. Henrickson served as team captain her junior and senior years.

She earned her master’s degree in physical education in 1988 from Western Illinois University while serving as a graduate assistant coach with the women’s basketball team.