Georgia head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson returns to home state for NCAA Tournament

The Bulldogs head coach grew up in Cedar Rapids, playing at Washington High School and Iowa before starting a coaching career.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Georgia head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson talks to the media during the 2023 NCAA First Round women’s basketball pregame press conferences and open practices at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

During the 2021-22 season, Katie Abrahamson-Henderson came to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a game against Iowa as Central Florida’s head coach.

One season later, she’s back in her home state of Iowa and just 30 minutes from her hometown. But this time, she’s heading the Georgia women’s basketball team’s run in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think my family is super excited,” Abrahamson-Henderson said on Thursday. “Obviously, everybody keeps saying ‘home.’ I’m very blessed. I was lucky and fortunate enough to be ‘home,’ in terms of basketball, and played for two Hall of Fame coaches in Andy Landers and Vivian Stringer. This is home for me where I grew up, home.”

Abrahamson-Henderson grew up in Cedar Rapids and played high school basketball at Cedar Rapids Washington High School. She averaged 44 points per game at Washington and is part of the Warriors Hall of Fame.

The decorated prep player first chose to play for Georgia in 1986, competing under Hall of Fame coach Andy Landers. But after two years, she transferred to Iowa to play for C. Vivian Stringer.

Following her playing career, Abrahamson-Henderson coached at Maine, Missouri State, and Albany before taking a job at UCF in 2016. After five years with Central Florida, she returned to Georgia in 2022.

“Basketball-wise, Georgia is kind of my home, too,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “I don’t know if there’s been any other Division I head coaches who played at two different universities and ended up coaching. It’s been really interesting to come back here.”

In her first season at the helm in Georgia, Abrahamson-Henderson led the Bulldogs to a 21-11 overall record and a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Throughout her coaching career, she has taken 12 different teams at four separate schools to the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs will play the Seminoles on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in front of a sold-out crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I love the Iowa fans,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “I love Iowa. Only it is my home. Lisa Bluder and their staff are amazing people, and every time we come back, you know, they are always trying to get us to come back anyway to play games. Because they know I’ll come back, you know, because I want to come back to Iowa and see my family.”

The first and second rounds of the tournament sold out in just 53 minutes, leading to some concern from Abrahamson-Henderson’s family in Iowa.

But the Georgia head coach assured them they would be able to get into the game.

“My sister called and told me, ‘I’m not going to get tickets, it’s sold out.’” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “I’m like, ‘Are you okay? Your sister is the head coach at Georgia. You’ll be getting tickets. You’ll be fine.’”

While Abrahamson-Henderson loves the state of Iowa, her players don’t share the same sentiment.

Diamond Battles and Javyn Nicholson came to the state last season, as the Bulldogs were in the Ames pod of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Georgia took down Dayton, 70-54, in the first round of the tournament but fell to Iowa State, 67-44, in the round of 32.

“It’s really cold and rainy,” Nicholson, who hails from Lawrenceville, Georgia, said of the state of Iowa. “I don’t like it at all.”