"I do think it is worth mentioning the context for which we are all here because we have had one of the pioneers of women's basketball coaching at KU for a very long time," said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "She is a very important part of the University. This is very much a day in which we remember everything Marian Washington has done for KU."
"Any coach in this country would say that if it wasn't for Marian -- and the ground she broke --they wouldn't have the opportunity to coach at the level they are coaching at now," added athletics director Lew Perkins.
"When we began the process, I tried to think about all the qualities we had at Kansas and the qualities and the background Marian brought. We began to identify a very special person that could come here to take us to the highest level we can possibly be at. Our goals are being a contender and winning conference championships and putting us in the light of being one of the great basketball programs in the country," said Perkins.
"I called everybody I had come to trust, and asked their opinions of who I should be talking to. There wasn't one person who did not have Bonnie (Henrickson) as number one or two on their list. That tells you a lot."
Henrickson has agreed to a five-year contract with a base salary of $130,000 per year. Income from media and apparel contracts and an annuity will raise the value of her compensation to approximately $530,000.
"I have watched Bonnie's teams for several years," KU Director of Athletics Lew Perkins said. "I have always been impressed with the way they play and the way they carry themselves."
Henrickson arrives in Lawrence after guiding the Hokies to a record of 158-62 and seven postseason appearances in seven years. Under her guidance, Virginia Tech reached the NCAA tournament five times and the WNIT twice, and won 20 or more games every season.
This past season Henrickson led the Hokies to a 23-8 overall record, including a 10-6 mark in the Big East, which placed eight teams in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia Tech advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year before bowing out to No. 5 Penn State.
"Bonnie has established herself as one of the most successful young coaches in the country," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "Our women's basketball program is very important to us, and we are confident that we are placing the future of our program in very good hands."
When Henrickson took over at Virginia Tech for the 1997-98 season, she orchestrated the biggest turnaround in school history. She guided her team to a 22-10 record, the school's first Atlantic 10 Conference title and an NCAA second-round appearance just one season after the Hokies had finished last in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 10-21 record.
Henrickson, who brings 16 years of coaching experience, has helped guide teams to postseason play for 11 straight years. After serving as assistant coach for the Hokies from 1988-93, Henrickson was elevated to associate head coach in the 1993-94 season. That year, Virginia Tech improved its record to 24-6 and made its first-ever NCAA appearance. The following season Tech recorded its first-ever NCAA tournament win.
Henrickson took her talents to the University of Iowa to serve as an assistant coach in 1995-96. Her two-year stint at Iowa produced a Sweet 16 appearance in 1996 and two Big 10 Conference Championships. In her two years, Iowa was 45-14.
In July 2000, she was the head coach of the women's USA Basketball team that traveled to Taiwan for the R. William Jones Cup competition. This appointment marked her second stint with a USA Basketball team; she also served as an assistant coach on the Team USA squad that won the silver medal at the 1999 World University Games.