Highlights of Female Athletics: Tyler Henderson

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano says Tyler Henderson was a key player from the start.

One of the youngest athletes to be inducted into the Tulsa Athletics Hall of Fame, Tyler Henderson, is the focus for this week of the Collegian’s Female Athletic Career series for Women’s History Month.

Henderson was a four-year letter winner from Heritage Hall High School in her hometown of Oklahoma City, where she helped her team win four straight Class 4A state championships. In her senior year, she was named the Class 4A State Championship Most Valuable Player and was a Little City All-State selection. Her athleticism also shined through her successes in track and field which she won the state high jump championship for all four years of her high school career.

“Tyler Henderson was the best offensive player I have ever coached,” said 2011 Head Coach Steven McRoberts. “And I have been doing this for close to almost thirty years. She just had this incredible ability to find the floor and put the ball away every single time.”

During her time at Tulsa, she majored in organizational studies and she played outside hitter. Henderson’s biggest sports thrill was winning the 2010 C-USA Championship and her favorite professional volleyball player is Misty May-Treanor.

In her freshman year, she earned the 2009 AVCA Honorable Mention All-American selection, AVCA All-Midwest Region Team and Midwest Region Freshman of the Year. In addition to these honors, Henderson was the C-USA Freshman of the Year and selected to the All-C-USA First Team and C-USA All-Freshman Team, making her one of the most decorated freshmen in Tulsa’s volleyball program.

She played a key role from the start of her career, starting in all 33 matches and playing in 120 sets. Throughout the season, she was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week twice. She ended the season with 554 skills (4.62 per set) with 66 digs and 53 blocks, clocking in 587 points.

In her second year, she moved up to the 2010 AVCA Second-Team All-American in addition to being named 2010 C-USA Player of the Year, All-C-USA First-Team selection and AVCA Midwest Region First-Team selection. She played in 34 matches and 114 sets. She led the NCAA with an average of 6.23 kills per set and 6.67 points per set, totaling 710 kills. Her kills-per-set average and total kills set an NCAA record. She also set NCAA and school records, tying a C-USA record at SMU (Oct. 6, 2009) with 45 kills. She ended the season clocking in 24 kills at Oklahoma in the NCAA Second Round (Dec. 4, 2009).

Henderson’s junior year saw her earn AVCA Second-Team All-American once again. She also earned C-USA Player of the Year, First-Team All-Conference USA and AVCA Midwest Region First-Team selection. With a 4.86 kills per set average, she ended the season with 593 kills along with 40 blocks, 59 digs and 632 total points. Henderson saw action against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament once again, where she hit .439 and recorded 30 kills.

Her final season was just as bright as the rest as she earned AVCA Second-Team All-American for the third time in a row. Once again, she earned C-USA Player of the Year, First-Team All-Conference USA and AVCA Midwest Region First-Team selection. She totaled 668 kills and tallied a total of 741.5 points. Henderson was also named AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week on Oct. 16, 2010 and C-USA Player twice. She was named to all-tournament teams at the Nike Invitational, Kansas Invitation, and Northern Colorado Classic, where she was named MVP.

Henderson led the C-USA in kills and points, ranking fourth in hitting percentage (.323). She put forth amazing efforts in the C-USA Championship, the most notable being her 20 kills and three blocks in TU’s victory over UCF at the C-USA Championship.

Henderson was an amazing athlete who contributed much to the record books of TU’s volleyball program. Her 710 kills as a sophomore is the single season school record, and she led the NCAA in kills multiple times throughout her career. After her career at TU, her jersey was retired, and it hangs in her honor at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. A year ago, she was inducted into the 2023 Hall of Fame just a decade after becoming a prized alumnus of TU.

Henderson spends some of her time coaching. Using the experience she gained as a Division I athlete at TU, she is helping cultivate the next generation of volleyball athletes in Oklahoma. Her kindness and hard work are motivation to us all.