The Kansas women’s basketball program is adding a little “Noonball” to the equation.
Former KU guard Terry Nooner, a Kansas City native, is joining head coach Bonnie Henrickson’s staff as an assistant coach. He replaces Chester Nichols, who took a position at Michigan.
Nooner, who spent the last season as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois, played for four seasons under former KU coach Roy Williams from 1997-2000. He began his career as a walk-on and quickly cultivated a devoted following — as well as the “Noonball” nickname.
“He’s a connector and he takes a lot of pride in that,” Henrickson said. “And (he’s) a guy who is a Jayhawk and passionate about the University of Kansas, and that’ll be a big sell for us in the recruiting.”
Henrickson is hopeful that Nooner’s history and connections in the Kansas City basketball scene will pay dividends on the recruiting trail — perhaps on both sides of the state line.
Following his time at Kansas, Nooner spent seven years as an AAU coach in the Kansas City area, coaching both girls and boys. A high school teammate of former Raytown star Tyronn Lue, Nooner has also spent time working with players such as former Jayhawk Billy Thomas and Clippers guard Chauncey Billups.
“I know how much passion fans have for the University of Kansas and basketball in general,” said Nooner, who served as a team captain in his senior season at Kansas. “And I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of it again.”
The KU women are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011-12, the program’s first since 1998. But Nooner’s hiring completes a full staff turnover during the last month. Former Central Michigan assistant Mahogany Green replaced Aqua Franklin, who accepted an assistant coaching position at Mississippi State. And Katie O’Connor, who served as an assistant at KU under Henrickson from 2005-11, returned after a season at Virginia. O’Connor replaced Tory Verdi, who became the head coach at Central Michigan.