Henricks is grounded in coaching kids
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:00 PM
Who do you think of when you think of basketball? Bobby Knight? Larry Bird? Shaquille O'Neal? Steve Alford? Well, I think of none of those folks; instead, my mind immediately goes to this week's featured feller, Ron Henricks. He is MY Mr. Basketball. Coaching at Southmont when my son was in high school, I always enjoyed watching him coach. Definitely, I was impressed how the boys admired him. Besides all that, like me, both he and his wife, Tina graduated from my Alma Mater, Indiana State (Go Sycamores). Ron is still in basketball, spending his 16th year as an assistant coach for Wabash, starting with the great Mac Petty and now with Antoine Carpenter.
As per Ron's teaching career, it is quite a unique one. First job out of ISU, Ron taught at Chicago Heights, Ill. The kids there often had sad lives. One gal had huge scratches on her arm and Ron asked her what was wrong? Her answer, "It's the rats, Mr. Henricks, it's the rats!" Luckily, there were good happenings while in Illinois, too. Pretty proud he was that his Chicago Heights Junior High basketball team lost the state championship in an over time. Having grown up in a fairly large school in Terre Haute, then teaching in Illinois, his next job at New Ross High School was a cultural shock. For example, at school one day, Ron needed to call Tina at her school in Pittsboro (where she taught "little Timmy Tanselle" who sat right in front of her). The New Ross kids told Ron right where the phone was but he didn't recognize it as it was something he'd never seen, the "crank kind!" Clinton High School came next from 1967-76 then Brownstown Central High School for four years. Next, Montgomery County was lucky to get him back. He noted that Mr. Tandy became someone who influenced him so much in the teaching as well as personal world and they became close friends. After all, Mr. T. did hire Ron twice in the South system. Ron also mentioned Ken Coudret as an exceptional administrator. Ron taught Government and Econ at South, as well as serving as head coach from 1980-89 then went to North Montgomery as Guidance Counselor until he and Tina retired. Tina taught at South from 1980-2003 and Ron noted with a twinkle in his eye that she was, "an excellent business teacher."
Both he and Tina are extremely proud of their daughter, Julie, a 1987 Southmont High School graduate. Many of you may know Julie from her many years as a weather gal. She is now the producer, director and star, along with Katie Shane, of Good Day Live with Channel 2. Julie seems to be having a blast, working on promotional happenings as well as interviewing fabulous folks, just like I get to. She is married to Dale Mahurin who works in medical device sales. They have two sons, Chase, a sophomore and Parker, a fourth grader in the Terre Haute Schools. Ron was understandably super excited as Chase had taken his SAT tests scoring perfect in math. Ron's proudest moments are centered on Julie and the boys, viewing their achievements as they grow and develop.
Coaching and teaching is what Ron is all about, loving to work with kids in any capacity. "You can't be a good coach without being a good teacher!" Definitely a people person he likes to motivate people using his sense of humor. Certainly, he has that - we laughed a lot as we talked in the interview. In fact, when I asked him what kept him and wife Tina together for 48 years, he grinningly answered, "Happy Wife, Happy Life!" At weddings, he always passes along that advice.
Another discussion we had was if kids have changed today and we wholeheartedly agreed that they have not. Social aspects are different with technology, fewer two-parent households and such, but the kids themselves have not changed in the least. Each child desires the same thing: guidance, direction and someone to take an interest in them.
For fun, Ron loves to play golf, go on cruises, spend time in Florida where he, Julie and Tina (now grandsons) have been to Disney World every year since it opened. The Colts and Pacers games and his work with Wabash basketball are all activities Ron enjoys, as well.
Ron has changed minutely since I've known him for 35 years. Turning 70 last year, Julie put on Facebook for anyone knowing her dad to send him a message. Tina reported to Julie that, "He was overwhelmed from sun up until sundown with texts and calls from his kids!"
Julie remembered two fun stories. When I asked Ron about the blizzard of '78 while they lived in Brownstown, he started laughing. You see, he tried to walk on water (in snow form) outside of their house, but instead fell in a snow drift well over his head. "Swear!" according to Julie, and Ron certainly didn't deny it. The really hilarious story was when he left his lawn mower on the top of the hill at their home at Lake Holiday, thinking he had put it away. Ron was more than slightly ticked when he thought someone had stolen his machine. Sometime later, when the family went swimming their feet discovered the "stolen" lawn mower.
One of the best parts of being a teacher is keeping in touch with the students. Ron began saying names about who had greatly achieved as either a teacher, coach or both, but he asked that I drop the names, because, "There are just too many of them!" Well, enjoyed talking with you Ron, and I'm elated that you shared your family and students accomplishments in this week's Around The County.