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Henning to lead OHS boys basketball team

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July 03, 2013 - Oxford Community Schools' athletic department is proud to announce the recommendation of Stephan Henning, fourth-grade teacher at Lakeville Elementary, as the 28th head coach of the boys varsity basketball team.

He will take over for Paul Marfia who had a 37-47 record in four years at the helm of the program.

"I've known Stephan Henning since he was a freshman in high school. Even then, his peers and coaches listened to him when he had something to say," said Athletic Director Mike Watson. "Stephan is a charismatic and skilled leader. He will more than make up for his limited experience with knowledge, dedication, poise and enthusiasm."

While many coaches "happen to teach," Henning will tell you, he is a "teacher that happens to coach."

"Basketball is an extension of the classroom – only this classroom happens to be a gym," Henning added. "I believe that being a member of the Oxford basketball program should prepare young men to be successful in life."

Originally from Beloit, Wisconsin, Henning moved with his family just prior to ninth grade. He attended Rochester High School and was a standout both on the football field and basketball court. Under Coach John Pleasant, Henning managed to claim a place as a four-year starting point guard for Rochester. He averaged 22 points, six assists and three steals per game as a senior on his way to consecutive all-OAA White Division first team honors and a place on the all-state Class A fourth team.

After high school, he received a scholarship to play basketball for Division II Northwood University in 2006. Henning played 26 of the Timberwolves 27 games, starting eight in his first season. He averaged six points and three assists and was named Northwood University's freshman athlete of the year in 2007.

A year later, Henning transferred to Rochester College to pursue a degree in elementary education and start on Rochester College's basketball team, where John Pleasant's father, Garth Pleasant, was coach and his brother, Klint Pleasant, was assistant coach. Klint took over as the Warriors head coach after his father retired.

"I was the only graduate of Rochester College to play for all three Pleasant coaches," Henning noted.

During the 2008-09 season, Henning started 24 games and shot 51 percent from the field and 47 percent from the three-point range. He averaged 10 points, three rebounds and five assists. In 2009-10, he started all 30 games and averaged 10 points, seven assists and three rebounds per game.

After being red-shirted in 2010-2011, Henning returned in 2011-12 to start 34 games as point guard where he shot over 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point rage and averaged 11 points, seven assists and four steals. The warriors finished as United States Collegiate Association (USCAA) National Runners-up and Henning earned All-American honorable mention.

"I have had the privilege of coaching three NBA (players) and one NFL player. I have coached against dozens of NBA players and in 13 years of major college coaching, Stephan Henning is one of the finest players I have coached," said Rochester College Head Men's Basketball Coach Klint Pleasant. "I say that because he is complete player."

While it's no secret that Henning is new to coaching, being around the Pleasant family has shown him how to carry himself and carry the team "the right way," he said.

"I definitely want to extend things outside of basketball to show the kids that no question it's great to compete (and) win games, but more importantly, it's great to be young men in the community they live in. That's the aspect I want to bring to the Oxford culture," he said. "Especially with my program to always carry yourselves the right way and know that people are watching you. Wherever you're at whether it is the mall or the movies, you represent the program and (you need to) represent it the right way."

Henning said he couldn't be more appreciative of the support he's received from students, parents, fellow coaches and OCS staff. He feels ready and excited to start coaching.

"I know I am young and just finished my first year of teaching and with that comes great responsibility outside of coaching. But I figured if there is a time that I can really dedicate myself to improving some kids lives on and off the basketball court and in my classroom, it would be right now," he said. "I am young. I have no wife and no kids. I can stay late and really put some time into this."

While he may not be married yet, Henning said his girlfriend of four years, Abigail Schlaegel, played a major role in his decision to apply for the coaching job.

"I just needed her to be on board and just understand," he said. "She may not understand completely the time I have to put in, but at least she is supportive and excited for me."

The Wildcats will hold tryouts for high school teams beginning Nov. 18 and will open their season Dec. 13 versus Lake Orion. Varsity tip-off time is 7 p.m.

As for the upcoming season, Henning said parents can expect him "to do things the right way."

"I really want to win games, but I'm going to care about my players," he said. "I want to see them succeed outside the basketball court."

"In basketball, there are so many life lessons you can learn just in playing a game and I want to see that in my players," he continued. "I want them to be positive role models, as well as be relentless on the court."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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