E.A. Sports Today

It’s yes for Wes

[corner-ad id=2]New White Plains baseball coach praised in seven-minute board meeting

New White Plains baseball coach Wes Henderson (L) spends a few minutes with school board member Phil Murphy after being approved for the position Thursday. On the cover, Henderson and White Plains principal Andy Ward await the board's approval.

New White Plains baseball coach Wes Henderson (L) spends a few minutes with school board member Phil Murphy after being approved for the position Thursday. On the cover, Henderson and White Plains principal Andy Ward await the board’s approval.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Wes Henderson always knew what he wanted to do once his playing days were over.

He wanted to be a head coach. He was sure the opportunity would come some day. He didn’t know when, of course, but when it did he was ready.

Henderson was approved Thursday to become the new head baseball coach at White Plains in a specially called meeting of the Calhoun County school board.

“I absolutely wanted to be a teacher and a coach; I knew that was my calling,” he said. “I have a passion for it and I can’t imagine doing anything else. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I love.

“I didn’t know when that opportunity would come. I knew it would come at some point; I didn’t know if it would come this soon or not but when it arose and they came after me … I was very, very comfortable there. It felt like I was home. I knew immediately that’s what I wanted.”

The 29-year-old former Oxford all-state player and Alabama standout replaces Chad Hudson, who left earlier this month for the Arab baseball job. He also will be an assistant varsity football coach. East Alabama Sports Today first reported Henderson as the leading candidate two weeks ago.

He was Oxford’s head JV coach and assistant varsity hitting coach in charge of the outfielders and corner infielders, and leaves the Yellow Jackets with all the blessings of coach Wes Brooks. He held similar responsibilities as an assistant previously at Montgomery Catholic and Park Crossing.

Brooks said baseball in Calhoun County got better with the hiring of Henderson. Matthew Maniscalco, a partner in the Excel Baseball Academy who once gave Henderson baseball instruction and this summer brought him aboard as a program coach, agreed, calling it “a fantastic hire” not only for White Plains but baseball in the area.

“When (Ward) called and told me who was on deck I just got so doggone fired up,” school superintendent Joe Dyar said during the seven-minute meeting. “It’s just exciting to be able to get a five-star person this late in the game for such a huge responsibility.”

Henderson received high praise from other members of the board — with leanings on both sides of the Auburn and Alabama aisles — as well.

The team Henderson takes over will be young but experienced. The Wildcats were the odd-man-out last year in a tight three-team race for two area playoff spots. Ward said the new coach knows the expectations are high.

“I believe it’s a place that can be competitive,” Henderson said. “Hudson did a great job, he deserves a lot of credit because he’s taken that program to new heights. He had something great, we just want to make it greater. We just want to keep going, take up where he left off, and it’s big shoes to fill.

“We’re going to be competitive. We’re going to work hard. We’re going to play the game at a high level. I don’t expect anything less and I’m not going to allow them to expect anything less.”

Henderson actually will be continuing a family legacy in education and coaching in Calhoun County. His grandfather was a former superintendent of Calhoun County schools and his White Plains assistant coach, Jarid Moore, is his second cousin.

“We’re just so excited to have Coach Henderson,” Ward said. “He’s going to do a great job, I know he will. The thing that struck me the first time we met was how positive he is … and that’s going to translate into great things at White Plains.

“We interviewed eight people. He was the guy to beat. It was going to take a special interview to overtake his spot. He was the best fit in the classroom and the baseball field.”



You must be logged in to post a comment Login