South Dakota State moves quickly, names Henderson Head Basketball Coach

Photo Courtesy SDSU Athletics

Eric Henderson, who served as an assistant coach for the South Dakota State University men’s basketball team the past three seasons, has been promoted to head coach, Director of Athletics Justin Sell announced Wednesday evening.

“Eric has been a big part of the success that we have had at South Dakota State,” Sell said. “His energy and enthusiasm for the game, and for the student-athletes he coaches, are infectious. He is a tremendous teacher and no doubt is prepared to lead our men’s basketball program to continued success.”

Henderson replaces T.J. Otzelberger, who earlier in the day resigned to accept the head coaching position at UNLV.

“It is an honor to be selected as the next head coach at South Dakota State and to continue to work with an exceptional group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have high expectations,” Henderson said. “Through our hard work, we will make Jackrabbit Nation proud of the product on the floor, performance in the classroom and the impact we can make in the community.”

Longtime assistant coach Rob Klinkefus also has been promoted to associate head coach.

In remaining at SDSU, Henderson will be a head coach for the first time at the collegiate level. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Wayne State (Neb.) from 2001-03 and returned to the collegiate ranks as an assistant at North Dakota State from 2014-16 after coaching in the prep ranks in Wisconsin. Henderson was elevated to associate head coach at SDSU prior to the 2018-19 season.

With Henderson on staff, the Jackrabbits compiled a 70-33 overall record, including a 35-11 mark in Summit League play, over the past three seasons. SDSU made postseason appearances each season, starting with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018, followed by an NIT bid in 2019 after winning the Summit League regular season title for the second year in a row.

The Jackrabbits have held one of the top home-court advantages in Division I men’s basketball, combining for a 40-3 record at Frost Arena over the past three seasons. SDSU put together a 21-game home-court winning streak from January 2017 until December 2018.

Henderson will be the 22nd head coach in SDSU men’s basketball history, dating back to the program’s inception in 1903.

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