EVANSTON, Ill. - Mitch Henderson, a Culver Military graduate and assistant coach at Northwestern for the last 11 seasons, has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Princeton University, his alma mater.
A 1998 graduate of Princeton, Henderson has served his entire term at NU under Bill Carmody, a former head coach at Princeton himself.
“I’m extremely grateful to Coach Carmody,” Henderson said. “I appreciate that he gave me the opportunity at a young age to work at one of the best universities in the world. Northwestern has been like a family to me and I will definitely miss it. I spent 11 great years there and I got to work with a great group of young guys. I will always be pulling for the Wildcats.”
During his tenure in Evanston, Henderson helped tutor two of the top guards in program history in Jitim Young and Michael Thompson. Young was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2004 and ranks eighth on NU’s career scoring list. Thompson completed his Northwestern career last season, leaving as the school all-time leader in assists, while ranking second in 3-point field goals and third in scoring.
With Henderson on the staff, the Wildcats have won a school-record 20 games each of the last two seasons and have advanced to the postseason each of the last three years, also a school record.
“Princeton has made a great choice for its next head coach,” said Carmody. “I’ve been fortunate to witness first-hand Mitch’s growth as both a player and a coach and he will do a tremendous job. He has an outstanding work ethic and will be able to relate to his players through his own experiences at Old Nassau. I know how much Princeton means to him, and he will do what it takes to continue the winning tradition there.”
Henderson is a 1994 grad of Culver Military Academy. An all-around outstanding athlete, he won a total of 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball during his career at CMA and was named the South Bend Tribune Athlete of the Year in his senior year in 1994. He is second on CMA basketball’s all-time scoring list with 1,284 points and was a New York Yankees draft pick after graduation but opted to go to Princeton instead.
Henderson was a four-year starter at Princeton from 1994-98, the last two of those seasons coming under the direction of Carmody. He helped the Tigers win three straight Ivy League titles — including two with perfect 14-0 records — and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including 1996 when Princeton pulled off one of the tournament’s most famous upsets by knocking off defending champion UCLA in the first round, 43-41.
Henderson was captain of the Tigers and a second-team All-Ivy selection in 1997-98. That year, Princeton went 27-2 overall, earned a Top 10 ranking nationally, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Big Ten champion Michigan State.
He played professional in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks in January of 1999 and one season in Sligo, Ireland, from August of 1998 to January of 1999. Before coming to Northwestern to begin his coaching career, he was a research associate for Lendx Corporation in San Francisco, Calif.