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Coach Abe hired by Georgia; Knights Begin Search

Winningest head coach in UCF Women’s Basketball History returns to a school she once played for

Noah Goldberg

UCF Knights Women’s Basketball head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was hired by the Georgia Bulldogs, the university announced Saturday.

The hiring brings an end to Abrahamson-Henderson’s six-season tenure with UCF, the final season of which she was the AAC’s Coach of the Year and brought the program its first NCAA Tournament victory earlier this month. She also goes down as the winningest coach in program history with a final overall coaching record of 131-48 (.739).

“What we did at UCF was the most historic season in school history!” Abrahamson-Henderson said in Georgia’s press release. “Winning the regular season and conference tournament titles, earning a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament — the highest in program history — and winning in the first round of the NCAA to reach the round of 32. It is not easy to leave a place like UCF, and I want all our administrators, players, alumni, fans and supporters to know you will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

The announcement comes one day after Radi Nabulsi of UGASports.com reported Abrahamson-Henderson had visited Athens, being met at the airport by Georgia Athletic Director Josh Brooks.

While terms of the contract were not disclosed in the release, it was reported that UCF offered Abrahamson-Henderson a new contract extension that would increase her base salary into the “top 15 nationally.” Per Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel, this would put the proposed new base salary at $850,000 or more.

The move also marks Abrahamson-Henderson’s return to Athens after she played for the legendary Andy Landers back in the mid-80s. As a freshman, she was a part of the 1986 Lady Bulldogs that took home the SEC title.

While Coach Abe departs Orlando, she leaves behind a group of players that became the top scoring defense in the country last season and, barring the shortened COVID-19 season, knew nothing but 20-win seasons.

Forward Masseny Kaba, who just completed her final season in the program, was Abrahamson-Henderson’s first recruit as UCF’s head coach. She finished this season as a member of the All-AAC 3rd team:

Guard Diamond Battles earned the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player Awards and was unanimously selected to All-AAC First team. Abrahamson-Henderson said earlier this month that she would be returning to the Knights for her final year of eligibility next season:

Just as Abrahamson-Henderson took the Knights from having five-straight losing seasons to two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, those at Georgia are looking for her to perform similar program improvement for a program that has not advanced past the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament since 2013.

“Our goal was to find a proven coach who has had sustained success both in competing for conference titles and in the NCAA tournament,” Brooks said in the release. “Katie is the entire package, and I can’t wait to see what her teams are able to accomplish here at the University of Georgia.”

A search for Coach Abe’s successor will begin in earnest for UCF Athletic Director Terry Mohajir.

“As I told our team today, players win championships and right now my sole focus is on the young ladies in this locker room,” Mohajir said in a UCF press release. “In this day and age one thing that is inevitable in college athletics is change. How you respond to change is what can create strong character.”

“We have already started a national search for our next head coach and the main focal point will be to find someone who wants to be 100% committed and believes in the vision for the UCF Knights.”