The 15th coach in the history of the men’s basketball program, Karl Henrikson is a former four-year player at USM and captain. Coach Henrikson has had a distinguished career coaching at the high school, prep school, small college, NAIA and professional level. He embraces the challenge of leading his alma mater and has a wealth of experience to draw upon in that task.
Prior to USM, Henrikson was the head prep basketball coach at Maine Central Institute, one of the top prep programs in the country. While at MCI, Henrikson coached 29 players who continued their career at the Division I level and his teams won 78 percent of their contests. Caron Butler, who captained Henrikson’s first squad, was the seventh pick in the 2002 NBA draft after spending two years as member of Jim Calhoun’s University of Connecticut Huskies.
Henrikson began his coaching career in 1978 at Southern Maine Community College. While at SMCC, Henrikson’s teams were twice conference runner-up and were able to win 32 games in 48 tries. From SMCC, Henrikson returned to mid-coast Maine, the area where he grew up, and coached Lincoln Academy (Newcastle, Maine) to a Western Maine Class B tourney appearance.
Henrikson left Lincoln Academy in 1981 and took a graduate assistant position at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. Henrikson took classes towards a master’s in education while coaching under the tutelage of Dr. Edward Bilik, the legendary coach and former basketball rules editor. Henrikson coached the sub-varsity at Springfield to a perfect 12-0 mark before being named head coach at Mount Desert Island High School.
At MDI, Henrikson’s teams qualified for the Eastern Maine tournament in four of his five years and Sedge Saunders became MDI’s first 1000-point scorer in 1987. After MDI, Henrikson continued his coaching career at Edward Little HS (Auburn, Maine) leading his 1988 team to a 15-3 mark and a berth in the Class A tournament in 1988 and 1989. He was named “Coach of the Year” in 1988.
Henrikson was named the men’s basketball coach and a member of the physical education faculty at the UMaine at Presque Isle in 1989. During his tenure at UMPI, Henrikson brought the program to a national top 25 ranking in 1997 and compiled a 132-94 overall record in nine seasons, producing eight NAIA All-Americans and twice earning coach of the year honors. His teams at UMPI enjoyed seven winning seasons, six NAIA tournament berths, and a Maine Athletic Conference regular season title in 1995. In the Fall of 2015, Henrikson was inducted into the UMaine Presque Isle Owls Hall of Fame for his tremendous success at the helm of their basketball program.
In 1998, Henrikson took the opportunity to coach at the professional level with Namika Lahti in Lahti, Finland. Serving as associate head coach, Henrikson worked with several former Division I and Finnish national team players. Namika competed in both the elite Finnish league and against other clubs throughout Europe. Following his experience at the professional level, Henrikson returned to the United States to head the MCI program in 1999.
Henrikson is the member of not one but two Hall of Fame bodies. Recently inducted into the UMPI Hall of Fame for his outstanding career as the men’s basketball coach, Henrikson was also honored for his playing and coaching career with his induction into the Mid-Coast Sports Hall of Fame this Fall.
Henrikson resides in Westbrook with his wife Pirjo and daughter Hanni, who is a student at Maine Law and a graduate of USM. Henrikson’s elder daughters Megan and Caitlin, earned their degrees from UMaine and work as a mother and nutritionist respectively. Henrikson is the proud grandfather of Carter and Evan, sons of his daughter Megan, and Iris, daughter of his daughter Caitlin.