Mitch McHenry has some big shoes to fill at Kickapoo. The former Chiefs assistant is the new head coach, replacing Dick Rippee who left for the same position at Bentonville High School in Arkansas last month.
“Mitch’s work ethic and professionalism will ensure the quality of the KHS program that fans and players have come to expect,” said outgoing SPS Athletic Director Randy Stange. “We believe he will continue to grow the program in a positive direction and to support students as they strive for excellence.”
The 27-year-old McHenry spent this past season as the head coach at Rogersville where he led the Wildcats to a 15-12 record and trip to the district semifinals.
“I have been very blessed to coach under a lot of great coaches that have helped progress my career,” said McHenry. It has also helped to coach great players that have made me look good. I’m very honored to have this opportunity, but I did not achieve this on my own.
Pror to that, he was an assistant for Rippee in 2016, reaching the Class 5 state championship game.
“He’s got a great future in coaching,” said Rippee, who recruited McHenry to play basketball at Evangel in 2008. “Kickapoo is lucky to have him. He’s going to do a great job. He’s all about the kids. I know there were a lot of great candidates and we’re certainly proud of him, and I’m looking forward to seeing him put his mark on the program.”
A former standout athlete at Republic, McHenry played four years at Evangel before joining Steve Jenkins on his staff for two years after graduating in 2013. McHenry also played two seasons of football for the Crusaders.
Replacing a highly successful coach at a prominent basketball school is nothing new for McHenry, who replaced Hall of Fame coach Rod Gorman at Rogersville. Gorman won 525 games before taking over the Houston High School program last year.
In addition to learning from the likes of Jenkins and Rippee, McHenry also learned from his father Denny, a veteran coach who’s spent time at Republic and is currently the Rogersville girls coach.
McHenry becomes the latest youthful head boys basketball coach in the Springfield Public Schools system, joining Joel Brown (Hillcrest) and Landon Cornish (Parkview) in the past three years.
McHenry is just the fifth boys basketball head coach in school history joining Rippee, Roy Green, Lyle Middleton and John Rotenberry.