St. Louis, Mo., June 5, 2017 — Washington University in St. Louis Interim Director of Athletics Chris Peacock announced the hiring of Randi Henderson as head coach of the women's basketball team.
Henderson is the third women's basketball coach in program history. She replaces Nancy Fahey, who was named the head coach at the University of Illinois.
Henderson arrives on the Danforth Campus after spending the past two years as the assistant women's basketball coach at NCAA Division I Charlotte. She also spent nine years as head coach at Coe College (2006-15) and one season at University of Minnesota-Morris (2005-06).
"Coach Henderson impressed us with her enthusiasm, basketball knowledge and experience in both Division III and Division I," said Peacock. "We are excited to welcome her, Duez and Harper Elsa into the WashU family."
In her first season with the 49ers, Henderson made an immediate impact and helped guide Charlotte to a 19-11 record, top-four Conference USA Championship ranking and one of the best offensive campaigns in program history. The 49ers topped the league in scoring (74.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (45.5), finishing among the Top-25 nationally in both categories. This past season Charlotte posted a 21-10 record and advanced to the Conference USA Quarterfinals.
"I am extremely honored and excited to be joining the Washington University family. My family and I feel blessed to be a part of a university where the excellence of academics and athletics are the expectation," said Henderson. "Washington University is one of the premier universities in the country. I am humbled to be working alongside such an elite group of coaches, staff, and faculty."
Henderson joined the Niners after a nine-year stint as the head women's basketball coach at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also served as the department's assistant athletic director and senior women's administrator (SWA).
She led the Kohawks to the school's only three 20-plus win seasons, including a school-record 26 on their way to the NCAA Sectional Semifinals in 2010-11. Coe finished with a 14-2 mark in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) that season, sharing the league's regular-season crown before picking up the tournament title.
It was one of six double-digit victory campaigns in conference play during Henderson's tenure, including back-to-back seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Kohawks also tied for the regular-season championship in 2009-10, posting a 13-3 league ledger as part of a 19-8 overall season.
In 2011-12, Coe advanced to the NCAA Second Round after winning its second-straight IIAC Tournament final and garnering a 21-8 record.
Her first time winning 20 games came in just her second season, 2007-08, when she engineered a 12-win turnaround from the previous year and vaulted the Kohawks to a third-place finish in the conference standings with a 20-8 mark. Coe advanced to the league tournament final for the first time in program history, while winning its first conference tournament game.
She received two IIAC Coach of the Year honors (2010, 2011) and a nod as the WBCA West Region Coach of the Year during her Coe career. Her overall record with the program was 155-91 (.630), the most wins by any head coach in school history. She also guided the Kohawks to a 90-48 (.652) ledger in conference action during her nine-year stint.
"I want to thank Vice Chancellor for Students Lori White, Athletic Director Anthony Azama, and the great group on the search committee for believing in me and giving me this opportunity," added Henderson. "I am excited to get to know each of the current and incoming student athletes, challenging their growth and development, and fighting alongside them to win championships. I also look forward to meeting the alumni, learning from their experiences, and continuing to build on the bright future they have laid out for the current student-athletes."
Prior to arriving at Coe, Henderson spent one season at Minnesota Morris where she earned Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Coach of the Year accolades. She directed the Cougars to a 16-10 record, including a 10-4 mark in league play to tie for second in the standings. She was an assistant at UMM for two years, 2003-04 and 2004-05, prior to her elevation to the head coaching post.
In June 2016, Henderson attended the Center for Coaching Excellence, a two-day elite leadership-training program sponsored by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) in Atlanta. She was selected among an exclusive national group of assistant coaches to attend the event.
"Chris Peacock, Sara Burton and the search committee's dedication and hard work provided a tremendous list of finalists. I really appreciate the thorough vetting process which included the current team and select women's basketball alumni," said Director of Athletics Anthony J. Azama. "Randi Henderson's success as both a high school and Division I student-athlete combined with her head coaching achievements prove she is a great teacher, developer and winner ready to lead this elite program."
A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, she began her coaching career as a volunteer at Athens High School in Athens, Ohio, as a graduate teaching assistant.
Henderson played collegiately at the University of Iowa, where she was a three-year starter and team captain for the Hawkeyes. She helped guide the Hawkeyes to a pair of NCAA Tournaments (1998, 2001) and the 2001 Big Ten Tournament Championship. Henderson concluded her career with 936 points and 745 rebounds, placing 11th on the school's all-time list.
She graduated from Iowa in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in health, leisure and sport studies. Henderson received a master's degree in recreation and sport sciences at Ohio University in 2003. She was named Iowa Miss Basketball in 1997.
Henderson and her husband, Duez, welcomed their first child, Harper Elsa, in August 2016.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT RANDI HENDERSON
LISA BLUDER, HEAD WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH
University of Iowa
What a great selection by Washington University in the hiring of Randi Henderson. Randi was an amazing player and a Big 10 champion while at the University of Iowa, but she has continued to give back to the game through her unbelievable abilities as a coach. Players relate to her, she's an exceptional teacher and she possesses incredible knowledge of the game, that translates into a winning combination. Randi is the perfect choice to keep the rich tradition of women's basketball at Washington University alive and well.
BOB BOWLSBY, COMMISSIONER
Big 12 Conference
Randi is an outstanding coach and a wonderful educator. I am excited for Randi's new opportunity and I am sure she will lead Washington University basketball to high achievement.
CARA CONSUEGRA, HEAD WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH
Washington University hit a home run with the hiring of Randi Henderson. In my mind there is not a better person, leader or basketball coach to take over such a storied basketball program. Randi is a winner in every area. She has a brilliant mind for X's and O's and player development but most importantly she will be transformational in her leadership. The young ladies in the program will grow to become exceptional future leaders under Randi's mentorship. The highest compliment I can give, is that if I had a daughter, I would want her to play for Randi Henderson.