Coach Henricksen speaks

Transcript of new head women's basketball coach Bonnie Henricksen's opening comments from the press conference earlier this week.


Let me first share with you the excitement about the opportunity to be the next head women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas.

To be quite honest, it was the vision and commitment from Chancellor Hemenway, not only at the University of Kansas, but certainly in the NCAA and his leadership positions, and being on the cutting edge of legislation and vision for the NCAA and our academic institutions. Lew Perkins, his passion, commitment and vision and how exciting he is about the growth and potential for opportunity here at the University of Kansas.

My staff and I accept this position, with tremendous respect for Coach Washington and her career at the University of Kansas. She has been a mentor, a role model and a fantastic coach. She has done a number of things nationally, here at the University of Kansas, but with USA Basketball and the WBCA. It is with great pride and respect that we follow her.

We have great respect for the coaches in the Big 12. We are very realistic about the growth that is needed to be at the highest level in the conference, the best women's basketball conference in the country.

We will recruit talented players from Kansas. Our players will be great role models, compete in the classroom, players you will be proud to call one of your own, players we will talk about in the community. We will recruit the state of Kansas. If we could win a national championship with 15 players from the state of Kansas -- we will do that. If that is not possible then we will go regional. If that is not possible then we will go nationally.

We will have a national reputation at the University of Kansas. We will compete in the classroom like we learn to compete on the basketball court. It is important that we recruit and develop the whole person. It is from sun up to sun down that we handle ourselves with respect for where we are, the opportunity we have and the challenges in front of us.

I would also like to congratulate Coach (Bill) Self and his staff and his players for a fantastic year and -- as we have been educated today -- the women's volleyball team, football team, golf team and the women's soccer team on fantastic years. As a team in the athletic department and in the athletic family, we are excited about the growth and success we will be a part of very soon

I would like to take a moment and introduce my staff.

Karen Lange, who is a former point guard at the University of Iowa, when we competed in a Thanksgiving tournament here at the University of Kansas.

Katie O'Connor, who was a player at Virginia Tech when I was an assistant coach. I had the opportunity to coach her as a head coach at Virginia Tech.

Trena Anderson, who is the director of our basketball operations and came from Michigan State.

I can't tell you how excited and realistic we are. This group will work tirelessly to bring this program back to national prominence. We had a tremendous meeting with the players today. We are excited about their enthusiasm. We look forward to that group embracing what we are trying to do.

That is the most difficult transition. We realize that and will be sensitive and patient as we learn each other. We will grow to learn and respect how important it is we handle ourselves in a professional manner. We must resect and understand the opportunity and responsibility we have to represent the University of Kansas.

I can't think Lew Perkins enough for giving me the opportunity. Top Stories