Henderson looks to re-energize wrestling

Posted in: Sports
By Todd Brooks
Jun 27, 2013 - 9:04:52 AM

GIVING ADVICE(Editor’s note: The Marlow Review begins the “New Faces” series this week on new head coaches at Marlow, Central High, and Bray-Doyle school districts. Next week – new Marlow girls basketball coach Larry Mowrey)
At first glance new Marlow wrestling coach Kelly Henderson may be hard to tell apart from the athletes he will be coaching.
Looks can be deceiving. Henderson, who turned 25 in May, brings a lot of wrestling experience even if he is a little short on coaching experience.
Henderson is a former All-American from the University of Central Oklahoma, but now with his wrestling career behind him, he is ready to start the next phase as a coach.
“I’m excited to be in Marlow,” Henderson said. “It’s a place of rich history. It’s lost it, and everybody knows that, but I’m excited to just have a chance to get it turned around.
“I’ve got a lot of great ideas I feel like. They may not be great, I’ll find that out, but I’ve got great ideas and how things should change for the better.”
The Tahlequah native credits his faith in helping him find his way to Marlow.
“The way I look at it, God works in everybody’s life if we allow him to,” Henderson said. “I was really trying to open my heart to God to let Him show me what was going on.
“I was looking for any job I could find. I was hoping for a head-coaching job. I get a phone call from (Marlow coach) Shawn Bateman and he asks me if I want a head-coaching job. When I heard Marlow with its history, it’s like God just hit me up. I didn’t have to think about it too much. I talked about it with my wife, and just knowing it was Marlow, I know it was a little down, but I’m not afraid to try to turn something around.”
Henderson thinks the transition from wrestler to coach will be a smooth one.
“I wrestled six years including two off years when I was injured and a redshirt year,” he said. “I saw a lot of coaching, and my head coach, David James, is a hall-of-fame coach, and I took a lot of mental notes. It’s not going to be too difficult of a transition for me. I’m confident in what I know. The college mentality I think can be transferred over to high school. It’s just a matter of getting my mind right about being in charge of something.”
The young coach realizes he is not much older than his wrestlers, but does not see it as a problem.
“I have to treat it diligently,” Henderson said. “I have to be careful in how I act and things that I say because I know they’re not stupid, they’re smart and they know I’m around their age.
“If I talk with authority and let them know I know what I am talking about with confidence, and then they’ll understand I’m not on their level. I just have to balance those things well.”
The coach sees his age as a positive because he will be able to relate to them and them to him.
“At the same time, I know a lot more than them,” Henderson said. “I don’t mean that to sound arrogant, but I know more than them and as long as I show them that I know and don’t brow beat them, I think they’ll understand I’m here to help them and know what I am talking about.”
It also helps that Bateman, who works with the young wrestlers, and former high school coach Keith Kizarr, are also former UCO wrestlers, and will be assisting Henderson.
“We all had the same college coach, so I think we have the same mentality, but we just have different personalities,” he said. “We’re opposite and that is good. We need opposites on a team to make them well rounded. I’m going to look to (coach) Kizarr for his experience and to look to him for what I need to do when I don’t know what I need to do.
“At the same time, I am going to implement philosophy wise what I think is correct, but I will also listen to what he has to say. Same thing with (coach) Bateman.”
Henderson has moved to Marlow with his wife and he is finishing up his master’s degree classes this week and then he will be able to be around full time.