Ahead of Her Time

Kahadeejah Herbert helped lift Lady Lion basketball to national prominence.

Kahadeejah Herbert

Kahadeejah Herbert had a habit of making dominance on the basketball court look easy. “She was effortless,” says former teammate Annie Troyan ’84, ’89 MEd Edu. “I can’t explain it. She was just smooth.”

Herbert ’86 Lib led the Lady Lions in scoring and rebounding in each of her four seasons with the team. The native of Willingboro, N.J., remains the leading career rebounder in program history (1,103), averaging more than eight per game, and was the first Penn State women’s player to reach 2,000 career points (2,026). She was the first of only two Penn State players to amass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, and was a WBCA all-district All-American in 1984 and 1985.

“When people ask who was the best to play here, I always say her, above all the other All-Americans,” says Troyan, a Penn State assistant coach from 1987–2007. “She was before her time.”

Penn State made the NCAA Tournament in all four of Herbert’s seasons with the team, including the school’s first appearance in 1982, and won three straight Atlantic 10 tournament titles. In 1985, she was a finalist for the Wade Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top player, and was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in the same season.

Troyan says Herbert would always have the newest gadget, such as a boombox or Walkman; that love of technology carried her into a 25-year career as an equipment design engineer and project manager at AT&T. More recently, she had a full-size phone booth and a collection of classic rotary dial phones in her home in Dayton, Ohio. Herbert volunteered with numerous organizations and would often help elderly neighbors with home projects or drive them to appointments.

Herbert died from pancreatic cancer at age 58 on Nov. 4, 2021, in Dayton. She is survived by her daughter, Ameerah, and grandson, Isaiah.