John Henry Recognized For Success On And Off The Court

William Penn University Mens Basketball Coach John Henry holds the net in celebration as his team wrapped up their second consecutive conference title this month.

William Penn University Men’s Basketball Coach John Henry (file photo)

by Justin Burtis

Full video interview below.

Oskaloosa — 400 wins. To some, that could be a career goal, a mark of success to hang their hat on. Not many climb the mountain that high at any level, with the finicky nature of school sports. However, to John Henry, the head coach of the William Penn men’s basketball team, that mark is not an accomplishment for just himself.

“I am very humbled by that, excited by that. I would be lying and stupid to say that it did not matter to me,” said Henry. “It meant a lot. But it means a lot to me because a lot of people made it happen. A lot of people helped. The school, the administration, the athletic directors, and my players.”

The coach had almost picked up number 400 on the road against Mid America Nazarene as his 2019-20 team started the year 6-0. Despite the upset down in Olathe, the Statesmen got their coach to 400 the next night against Missouri Valley. With a record of 30-3 on the season, they pushed Henry’s overall record to 423-209 in his career at William Penn.

“I have had great players over the years. In addition to that, I have also had great assistant coaches. I have been blessed in my 19 years to have only three top assistant coaches. I don’t know if anyone else can say that…. It’s been a great run and I would be remiss to say that my family does not play a role in it. Maggie, my wife, Cole and Ellie, my kids, my mom and dad, everyone.”

In addition to that milestone, coach Henry was ranked was one of the best coaches outside of NCAA Division One basketball. While the achievements continue to rack up, Henry keeps his perspective grounded.

“Like the 400 wins, it is very humbling because a lot of the assistant coaches and the players made this happen. I hire well, I handle talent well, but a lot of my assistants have drawn up the plays and I do not care. I am a simple guy, I drive a pick-up truck. I would rather fish than golf. The award is cool but they do not always mean much to me.”

While he might not enjoy the limelight like some, the numbers shine for Henry since he arrived in the 2001-2002 season. He has helped 57 players reach all-conference status, 23 have been selected as All-Americans, and 27 have been NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Among the top-20 in wins for active coaches, Henry has pushed William Penn men’s basketball to the forefront of the NAIA nation. With seven conference titles and nine NAIA National Tournament appearances, the only thing to still allude him is the red banner the NAIA hands out to the championship-winning team.

“I think people take for granted sustained success,” said Athletic Director Nic Rule. “Having a program that is consistently a top program in the country and winning conference championships, four of five in our first five years in the Heart. People get used to that, and that is a very abnormal thing.”

Rule has been AD since 2017 and has been at the school longer than that.

“That is a testament to role as a leader in the program and being able to shift when needed. I am entering my fourth year as athletics director and I have seen Henry shift about three different times. His shifting as a leader has been pretty profound over the past year and a half.”

“Coaching is about empowering people and leadership is about empowering people. Coach Henry places good people around him and he empowers his staff to help build and lead the program.”

“This has been a dream come true. I never imagined I would be sitting here talking about these things. I just wanted to keep my job,” said Henry.“I probably would have stayed up at Twin Cedars had I not gotten the opportunity to come here to William Penn.”

“As a coach, our job is to prepare people to be better than they are than when they come in. Part of that is you have to support them. You have to cheer for them, you have to be their biggest fan. You have to do those things so you can provide them corrective guidance,” related Rule. “(Coach Henry) Has this loveable thing about him…. But he is very honest. I think the one thing I appreciate about him the most is that we can have a conversation. It can be a tough conversation, it can be a funny conversation, it can be a conversation about something that needs to change or anything like that. But we can talk about it, we can hash it out, and we are good.”

“If we can talk, if we can have discussions, and maybe have a difference of opinion, but we can always at the end of the day move forward, and I think Coach Henry is a great example of that.”

Posted by on Jul 16 2020. Filed under College Sports, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Log in | Copyright by Oskaloosa News