Women’s basketball coach Ron McHenry announces retirement

Washburn women’s basketball head coach Ron McHenry announces his retirement on March 8, 2022. McHenry went 490-180 over 22 seasons as head coach.

Standing in front of current and former players, coaches, colleagues and family, longtime Washburn women’s basketball coach Ron McHenry announced his retirement on March 8, 2022.

“It’s been a great run. It’s been fun and exciting, and it’s been a blessing, and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it at.” McHenry said. “It was a decision I thought about for a while and there is no reason why other than it was just the right time for me.”

McHenry retires as the winningest coach in program history, compiling a 490-180 record over 22 years at the helm, including a 2005 Division II National Championship, the first for Washburn.

“One thing about Washburn is it’s gotta be one of the top jobs in the country because they give you everything to win,” McHenry said. “It’s just an awesome place and a place that has always supported me and I have felt that.”

In his career, McHenry became the fastest coach to obtain 400 career wins at the Division II level and compiled a 51-game winning streak between 2004 to 2006, which at the time was the longest in Division II women’s basketball history.

That success is why Athletics Director Loren Ferré says that McHenry was one of the best hires he has made at Washburn.

“When I first got here, one of the first hires I made was for a women’s basketball coach,” Ferré said. “Ron has been great, we had our office next to each other for years and talked about a lot of things other than basketball and he was great for me … I will miss him greatly.”

McHenry’s time as an Ichabod goes beyond the 22 years as head coach. He began as a student-athlete on the men’s basketball team in 1983-84 before becoming a graduate assistant.

He would eventually join the men’s coaching staff as an assistant coach for 11 seasons, also making stops as the athletic department’s academic adviser and head golf coach.

All three of McHenry’s children, Dani, Sami, and Ronnie, are connected to Washburn. Both Dani and Sami played basketball and volleyball at Washburn while Ronnie was a member of the golf team from 2012-16 and became the program’s head coach in the summer of 2021.

McHenry was emotional when talking about his family and the sacrifices that they have made for him while coaching.

“They gave me the opportunity to coach and do something I really liked to do. I missed a lot of their stuff, but they were always there to support me,” McHenry said.

He also acknowledged all of the connections he has made and relationships he built in his career of more than 40 years at Washburn and was grateful that it was made possible for him.

“All I can say is thank you for allowing me to do this, the players, the coaches, the fans … it’s just been a great run and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it at,” McHenry said. “It’s really not a job, I use the word job but it’s not a job, it’s a passion … it’s been fun, it’s been exciting and it’s been a blessing.”

McHenry plans to spend more time with family in retirement and hopes to golf more. Although he admits he is sad to go and give up something that has been such a big part of his life, he wants to focus on the memories and relationships made along the way.

“Washburn has been my life, it really has, I have spent more than half my life here,” McHenry said. “It’s one of those deals where it can be a sad time, but it really isn’t … this is a fun time right now.”

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Simran Shrestha