No joke — UCF hired a new women's basketball head coach Friday, otherwise known as April Fools' Day.
Albany University's Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, 49, will replace former head coach Joi Williams, who was fired March 7. Williams coached the Knights for nine years and collected a 7-23 record during her final season.
Athletics Director Danny White broke the news to the UCF community and media Friday afternoon, just a week after hiring former Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins to lead the men's basketball team, which lost its former head coach, Donnie Jones, just a few days after Williams' dismissal.
“We’re proud to welcome coach Abrahamson-Henderson and her family to UCF,” White said in a press release. “I’m confident in Katie’s ability to be a wonderful leader for our women’s basketball student-athletes."
Coming from a program that in six seasons accumulated a combined nine America East Conference tournament and regular season titles, Abrahamson-Henderson also racked up five 20-win seasons and helped lead the Great Danes to five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.
"She quickly stood out as we were going through the search process," White said in the release. "After reviewing her credentials and speaking to her, it became very clear to me that coach Abrahamson-Henderson is the right leader at the right time for UCF women’s basketball. That feeling was further confirmed after speaking to numerous people about her. She has been a winner as a player and as a coach. We look forward to her bringing that experience to our program."
This included the Great Danes' first appearance in the tournament in 2011 and their first win in the NCAA tournament in 2016. Garnering three Coach of the Year awards and leading the Great Danes to a league play record of 83-13, "Coach Abe" led 38 consecutive victories from February 2012 to February 2014 — the longest winning streak in all of Division I women's basketball. Maine previously held the record with 37 straight wins from 1995 to 1997.
From 2002-07, Abrahamson-Henderson served as head coach for Missouri State University, and before that, as an associate head coach at Indiana and Michigan State.
With 20 years of experience in Division I basketball, she also worked in the Pacific-10 conference as an assistant coach and a recruiting coordinator.
As a player, Abrahamson-Henderson spent two seasons with Georgia before transferring to Iowa, where she and the Hawkeyes made a run to two Big Ten Conference championships and played in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. As a freshman at Georgia, she helped the team take home a Southeastern Conference title in 1986. Following her collegiate career, she spent one year playing professional ball in New Zealand.
“This was a quick, but thorough search,” White said in the release. “I have the members of my executive team and our search committee to thank for that. Their expertise was crucial to helping us bring coach Abrahamson-Henderson to Orlando.”
This is developing story. Check back for updates.
Evan Abramson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. You can follow him on Twitter at @Evan_Abramson and email him at EvanA@centralfloridafuture.com.