On April 1, 2016, Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was announced as UCF's head women's basketball coach.
Since her arrival, Coach "ABE" has led UCF to milestone after milestone. In her three seasons at the helm, UCF has posted the program's first three-consecutive 20-win seasons in the Division I era. She has led the Knights to their best finish in the American Athletic Conference in all three seasons, including their first-ever appearance in The American Championship title game.
During the 2016-17 campaign, Abrahamson-Henderson led the Knights to their best season since joining the American Athletic Conference. Finishing the season with a 21-12 overall record, the Knights added 14 to its total in the win column from the previous season, tied for the second-best turnaround among women's Division I basketball teams. UCF started the season with a 10-2 record, its best mark since the 1982-83 campaign. Abrahamson-Henderson's squad posted its best mark in The American at 9-7. During conference action, the Knights earned the program's first-ever road victories over East Carolina and USF.
On Feb. 14, 2017, Abrahamson-Henderson led her team to a 66-62 win over then-No. 22 USF. Not only did her squad collect all six points in the War on I-4 rivalry series, it also picked up the program's first-ever win over a ranked opponent in the Division I era.
Earning its highest seed and first-round bye in The American Championship, No. 4 UCF topped Tulane in the quarterfinals to pick up its first victory in the league tournament. UCF reached the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2010-11 season and made its first-ever WNIT appearance. With a 73-53 victory over Stetson on March 16 marked the program's first postseason victory in either the NCAA or WNIT tournaments.
In 2017-18, the Knights tied the program's Division I record for wins in a season.
The 2018-19 campaign was one for the record books. After finishing the non-conference slate with an 11-2 record - the most non-conference wins in the program's Division I era - UCF went on to set more records. Picked to finish fourth in The American preseason poll, the Black and Gold turned in a 13-3 league mark that included the first-ever regular season sweep of USF to finish second. UCF earned its third-straight bye in The American Championship and advanced to its first title game in The American with a 66-58 semifinal victory against Cincinnati. The
Under her guidance, six Knights - Aliyah Gregory, Masseny Kaba, Zykira Lewis, Zakiya Saunders and Kay Kay Wright - have each earned all-conference accolades, while Kayla Thigpen became the first Knight to earn an individual honor, being tabbed as the Sixth Player of the Year in 2018-19. Two Knights recognized have been recognized on The American postseason teams in each of the last three seasons. Gregory became the first Knight to earn First Team honors in The American.
Abrahamson-Henderson came to UCF after six seasons at Albany, where she led the Great Danes to a combined nine America East Conference tournament and regular season titles. Her Albany teams recorded five 20-win seasons en route to five-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program’s first bid in 2011 and its first NCAA Tournament victory in 2016.
Albany’s first NCAA Division I All-America performer came during Abrahamson-Henderson’s tenure. Numerous Great Dane players have been recognized with America East accolades, including: four Players of the Year awards, four Defensive Players of the Year awards, one Scholar-Athlete of the Year, one Rookie of the Year, nine first-team all-conference selections, 17 total all-conference honors, 12 all-defensive team picks and five all-academic team awards.
She was chosen as the America East Coach of the Year three times and guided Albany to a combined 83-13 record in league play. Moreover, Albany won 38-consecutive America East regular season contests from Feb. 1, 2012 through Feb. 26, 2014, setting a new league record and setting what was then the longest conference winning streak in all of Division I. That streak surpassed the old record of 37, set by Maine from 1995-97 under coach Joanne P. McCallie, Coach Abe’s mentor at both Maine and Michigan State.
Abrahamson-Henderson was previously the associate head coach at Indiana prior to moving to Albany and also held that title at Michigan State (2000-02). She served as Missouri State University’s head coach from 2002-07. During her coaching career, she has helped three different teams reach the NCAA Tournament and five programs reach postseason play.
Coach Abe has two decades of experience on the Division I level. She guided Missouri State’s program to three Missouri Valley Conference tournament championships, two MVC regular-season titles and three NCAA berths. The Bears, who also won the 2005 WNIT championship, posted a 95-61 record during her five seasons.
In addition, she coached a pair of MVC players of the year, 11 all-conference honorees, two of the program’s all-time leading scorers, three players who went on to professional careers, and 13 MVC scholar-athletes.
Following her stay at Missouri State, Abrahamson-Henderson worked at Washington in the Pacific-10 Conference as assistant coach and co-recruiting coordinator in 2007-08. Prior to that, she served as associate head coach for Indiana on Felisha Legette-Jack’s staff. The Hoosiers advanced to the 2009 WNIT quarterfinals and finished with a 21-11 record.
At one of her most successful stops as an assistant, Abrahamson-Henderson helped Iowa State (1994-00) clinch four-consecutive NCAA appearances, including runs to the 1999 Elite Eight and 2000 Sweet 16. The Cyclones won the Big 12 regular season and tournament title in 2000 and saw two of their own selected in the WNBA Draft that year.
An accomplished student-athlete and a Parade Magazine and USA Today High School All-American, Abrahamson-Henderson played two seasons at Georgia for Andy Landers before transferring to Iowa to compete for Basketball Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer. At Iowa, she was a member of two Big Ten Conference championship teams and played in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. As a freshman at Georgia, she helped the Bulldogs capture the 1986 Southeastern Conference title.
Following her college career, Abrahamson-Henderson played one season professionally in New Zealand.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Abrahamson-Henderson earned a B.S. in physical education with an emphasis in sports administration from the University of Iowa. She received her master’s in education from Duquesne University in 1992.
Abrahamson-Henderson and her husband, Michael, have two daughters, Savannah and Brooklyn. Michael also had a celebrated college basketball career and eventually played for the Harlem Globetrotters. He led Long Island-C.W. Post to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and scored 1,173 career points from 1981-84.
Coach Abe File
Name: Kay N. Abrahamson-Henderson
Overall Record: 241-108 (.691; 11 years)
Husband: Michael A. Henderson
Children: Savannah, Brooklyn
University of Iowa, B.S. in physical education, sports administration, 1990
Duquesne University, M.S., education, 1992
2016- present, UCF, Head Coach (69-30)
• 2017 WNIT Second Round
• 2018 WNIT Second Round
• 2019 NCAA First Round
2010-16, Albany, Head Coach (146-47)
• Five NCAA Tournament appearances
• Five America East Tournament Championships
• Four America East Regular Season Championships
• Three America East Coach of the Year honors
2008-10, Indiana, Associate Head Coach
• 2009 WNIT Berth
2007-08, Washington, Assistant Coach and Co-recruiting Coordinator
2002-07, Missouri State University, Head Coach (95-61)
• Three NCAA Tournament berths
• Three Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championships
• Two MVC Regular Season Championships
• 2005 WNIT Champions
2000-02, Michigan State, Associate Head Coach
• 2002 WNIT Berth
1994-00, Iowa State, Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator
• Four consecutive NCAA appearances, including 1999 Elite Eight and 2000 Sweet Sixteen
• 2000 Big 12 Regular Season and Tournament Champions
• Two WNBA Draft Picks (2000)
1992-94, Maine, Assistant Coach
• 1994 North Atlantic Conference Regular Season Champion
1990-92, Duquesne, Assistant Coach
*Updated April 2019