Familiar face returns as assistant basketball coach


Kaliann Rikard-Henke first made her mark at Webster University when she scored 19 points filling in for an injured starter on a California road trip. Almost seven years after her first start, she returns as an assistant coach.

After graduating from Webster University in 2014, Rikard-Henke served as a graduate assistant for William Woods for two seasons.

Rikard-Henke said it was a learning curve since William Woods head coach Dan Chapla had a different style than what she was used to. However, she said she learned a lot and enjoyed her time there.

“We had two really good years there,” Rikard-Henke said. “Won over 20 games both seasons. Last year, we upset two teams to make it to the Elite Eight.”

Rikard-Henke served as team captain during her final two seasons at Webster University. She is the school’s all-time leader in games played and ranks in the top five in steals and assists.

According to Rikard-Henke, her familiarity to head coach Jordan Olufson’s system makes the transition easier. She also said her experiences as a player can help her teach incoming freshman.

“I have been there and done that, since I was at Webster,” Rikard-Henke said. “I understand what they are going through.”

Since graduation, Rikard-Henke has also volunteered for summer skill camps and went to alumni functions. She has already met some of the current players from those roles.

Olufson said he thinks Rikard-Henke will be able relate to players because of her playing experience at Webster. He also said he was thrilled by the progress Rikard-Henke made as an assistant coach at William Woods.

“She is going to be able to step in right away and help with our guard play,” Rikard-Henke said. “Kali is probably one of our best defenders we ever had here. So with our press and trap, she is going to be able to really help elevate our defensive side.”

Senior forward Taylor Lucas said she is looking forward to working with Rikard-Henke when team practices start.

“She has already been in the program, so she knows how we operate and how coach Olufson does things,” Lucas said.

Olufson said the attributes Rikard-Henke had as a player could rub off on the players she coaches.

“She was very creative and had a good hesitation move,” Olufson said. “She was kind of a magician with the ball when she got down in the paint. We hope another area she can help out is our penetration.”

The Gorloks made the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament every season of Rikard-Henke’s career. They won the SLIAC Tournament her freshman season in 2010-11.

Rikard-Henke said winning the SLIAC Tournament was one of her favorite memories of her collegiate career. However, she also pointed to a conference win her senior season.

“Westminster has always been our big rival and they beat us a lot,” Rikard-Henke said. “My senior year, we came out and beat them by 20. For the seniors and Coach Olufson, it was a really good win.”

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