April 23, 2014 - After leading his team in his first year as head coach to district finals and claiming a league title for the first time in 30 years, accolades keep coming in for Oxford Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Stephan Henning.
Coach Stephan Henning, recently named "Coach of the Year" celebrates winning the league title for the first time in over 30 years by cutting the net down. Photo by Matt Johnson. (click for larger version)
Henning was recently named "Coach of the Year in the OAA Blue Division," "All Detroit North Coach of the Year" by the Detroit Free Press and "All Oakland County Second Team Coach of the Year."
"It's a little bit overwhelming and I was just surprised," Henning said. "Just having the type of success in my first year and knowing how the season started (with a five game losing streak) and then how we ended (9-8)."
Henning also appreciates the recognition from other people in the community and coaches around the area, not recognizing him necessarily, but Oxford basketball.
"I can't get 'Coach of the Year' without having a successful season and that's more a testament to the players and how they came along and improved and to my coaching staff," he said. "Even though I got the award, it really shows how hard they worked, which is great."
As for the awards themselves, Henning laughed and said he didn't know about the Free Press nomination until a family member read it in the paper. The same was true for "All Oakland County…" he found that one out through a friend who saw in on Twitter.
"I had no clue of the acknowledgements I was getting, so that made it even better that I didn't expect it," he added. "But just seeing it in the paper was a surreal feeling."
Henning also attributed his success to those coaches who impacted his life as a player, especially former Head Coach for Rochester College, Garth Pleasant.
"It was Garth Pleasant at Rochester College who showed me how to motivate kids and players in the right way," he said. "That really prepared me for this job of how to do it in a respectful manner, but demanding the most out of all them."
"He (Pleasant) recently called me and we talked for a bit," continued Henning. "Having him just acknowledging (my receiving) that (award) and telling me I did 'a great job' means more to me than some of these awards because he knows the type of person I am and what I'm trying to do."
Henning also received acknowledgement from his former high school coach Matt Jansen, of Rochester Adams.
"He said 'coaches hopefully get that once or twice in their lifetime of coaching high school ball, so for me to get it in my first year is just a testament of how hard I work,'" noted Henning.
While he is greatly humbled to receive such accolades in his first year, Henning said the significance of such honors hasn't quite hit him yet.
"I know it's a big accomplishment but it's hard to grasp it until I go through a few rough years or a couple years where the program (is not as good,)" he said. "Until I've endured more (as a coach) I won't really understand the importance of it."
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.