Katie Abrahamson-Henderson named Georgia head coach


ATHENS, Georgia — Katie Abrahamson-Henderson — a former Lady Bulldog who has had outstanding success as a head coach over the past two decades, including her current stint with UCF — has been named the third full-time head coach in Georgia women’s basketball history, J. Reid Parker Athletics -Director Josh Brooks announced Saturday.

Head coach Katie Abrahamson Henderson

“It’s a dream come true. I’m excited to return to Georgia as the head coach of one of the country’s premier women’s basketball programs,” said Abrahamson-Henderson. “I want to thank President Jere W. Morehead, athletics director Josh Brooks and Senior Assistant Athletics Director Darrice Griffin for the trust they have placed in me. I also want to thank Andy and Landers Joni Taylor for the foundation of success they have laid as we continue to build on this great heritage.

“What we did at UCF was the most historic season in school history! Winning the regular season and conference tournament titles, finishing No. 7 in the NCAA tournament — the highest in the program’s history — and winning the NCAA in the first round to reach the knockout rounds. Leaving a place like UCF is not easy and I want all of our admins, players, alumni, fans and supporters to know that you will always hold a special place in our hearts.

“When I signed a national memorandum of understanding with Coach Landers in 1985, that program was in the midst of a remarkable and unprecedented run of contests for SEC and national championships. In Conversation With Josh Brooks and Darrice Griffin, our vision, and our belief that Georgia will fight for championships and post-season success were a perfect fit. I’m so ready to go.”

J. Reid Parker Athletics Director Josh Brooks

“We are very pleased to welcome Katie, Michael and their daughters Savannah and Brooklyn to Athens,” said Brooks. “During this process one name kept coming up and that was Coach ‘ABE’. Her resume and track record of success at all levels is impressive. Our goal was to find a proven coach who would have continued success in both conference title competition and the NCAA tournament. Katie is the whole package and I can’t wait to see what her teams can achieve here at the University of Georgia.”

President Jere W. Morehead

“We are very pleased to welcome Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson to the University of Georgia,” Morehead said. “Her outstanding and successful history as a head coach at UCF, Albany and Missouri State is remarkable. I am confident that she will be an excellent ambassador for the university and our women’s basketball program.”

Senior Deputy Director of Sport Darrice Griffin

“Coach ‘ABE’ has shown a particular commitment to excellence in all aspects of higher education and competition,” said Griffin. “She is committed to empowering young women, developing their talents and gifts while preparing them for a purposeful life after their experience as a student and athlete. I truly believe we have found the right leader to build on Georgia Women’s rich history and heritage of basketball.”

In 17 seasons as head coach, with stints at UCF, Albany and Missouri State, Abrahamson-Henderson’s teams have compiled an impressive 372-157 record — a 70 percent win ratio and an average of 22 wins a year. Their teams have also won seven conference-season titles, nine league tournament crowns, 11 NCAA tournament spots, and a total of 14 postseason bids. Their Missouri State team also won the 2005 WNIT title.

Most recently, the 2021-22 UCF Knights set the school record for most wins in a season with an aggregate score of 26-4, including a 14-1 record in league play, en route to winning the American Athletic regular season and tournament Conference championships. The Knights advanced to the NCAA tournament where they narrowly lost in the second round to No. 2 UConn, 52-47.

For her efforts, Coach “ABE” was named the 2022 AAC Coach of the Year, earning the league Coach of the Year award for the fourth time in her career. Under her leadership, Diamond Battles was named AAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the conference’s first-team roster.

Overall, she has coached seven players for league player of the year, five for defensive player of the year and 20 student-athletes for first-team honors.

At UCF, their teams hit milestone after milestone with postseason bidding every year (with the exception of the 2020 COVID season). In 2018-19, UCF received the program’s first-ever bid at-large to the NCAA tournament, followed by another trip and the highest seed in school history in 2021.

Coach “ABE” led UCF to a 131-49 record in six seasons. After her appointment as head coach in 2016, her impact was felt immediately. Her team finished 21-12 that year — a 14-game improvement from the previous season and the second-best turnaround among Division I women’s basketball programs.

Their 2018-19 squad finished second with a 26-7 record and a 13-3 mark in The American. This comes after her team equaled the program’s Division I record for single-season wins in 2017–18 and made their first postseason back-to-back appearances.

Prior to UCF, Abrahamson-Henderson spent six seasons at Albany (2010-16) where she led the Great Danes to a total of nine America East Conference tournaments and regular season titles, including four Player of the Year Awards, four Defensive Player of the Year Awards , a Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a Rookie of the Year and nine All-Conference first-team selections.

She was voted America East Coach of the Year three times and helped the Great Danes to a combined 83-13 record in league play. Albany won 38 straight regular games in America East, which set a new league record and was a Division I record at the time.

Coach “ABE” led Missouri State to three Missouri Valley Conference tournament championships, two regular-season MVC titles, and three NCAA finishes from 2002-2007.

In addition to her stints as head coach, Abrahamson-Henderson was an assistant head coach at Indiana from 2006-2010, an assistant coach at Washington from 2007-2008, an assistant head coach at Michigan State from 2000-2002, and an assistant coach at Iowa State from 1994-00, an assistant coach at Maine from 1992-94 and assistant coach at Duquesne from 1990-92.

As a player, Abrahamson-Henderson was a Parade Magazine and USA Today High School All-American and a highly sought-after recruit. After playing two seasons for Coach Landers in Georgia, Iowa’s Cedar Rapids, he joined C. Vivian Stringer in Iowa. She was a member of two Big Ten championship teams. As a freshman in Georgia, she helped the Lady Bulldogs capture the 1986 Southeastern Conference Crown.

Abrahamson-Henderson played a total of 64 games from 34 starts during their two seasons in Athens. She totaled 443 points and 253 rebounds from 1985 to 1987.

She earned a BS in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Administration from the University of Iowa. In 1992 she received her Masters in Education from Duquesne University.

Abrahamson-Henderson and her husband Michael have two daughters, Savannah and Brooklyn. Michael also had an acclaimed college basketball career, eventually playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. He led Long Island-CW Post to two NCAA tournaments and had 1,173 career points from 1981–84.

Michael was a WNBA umpire from 1998-1991 and an NBA umpire from 2001-2006. He is currently a Division I women’s basketball official at numerous conferences across the country.

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