Coach Ron McHenry owns his decade of coaching women’s basketball with an 83 percent win record.
McHenry said, resoundingly, that he loves to play basketball.
“I enjoyed watching the game, but back when we didn’t have as many games to watch,” he said.
The McLouth native started for the Ichabods during the 1983-84 season for coach Bob Chipman. Playing a three, typically, McHenry said he played opposite wherever the stars were. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and received a master’s degree in sports administration from Wichita State University in 1987. Since then, McHenry has been appointed as the Topeka Sizzlers’ interim head coach and served on the men’s coaching staff for 11 years, during which he had a hand in 243 wins.
“(Coaching) wasn’t something I was going to do until I got around some good coaches,” he said.
McHenry said that at the time he was young and married, so coaching came as a big decision when he went to coach the Sizzlers. Prior to, his coaching experience came from a role as the assistant coach for the Perry High School boys’ team in 1986. Now, as head coach for the Lady Blues, McHenry has led the team to five MIAA regular season championships, and five postseason tournament titles.
“We have been ranked nationally for a long time,” McHenry said, “if you are successful in this league then you can be successful anywhere. The league is very strong.”
McHenry said he gives credit to administration for funding women’s basketball even when facing a tight budget.
“Fully funded scholarships attract great players,” he said.
Or, for example, the post league tournament in downtown Kansas City is annually funded, and McHenry said he thinks it is great for the team.
As for coaching style, McHenry holds to the theory that defense wins games.
“We love to run but we run after steals,” he said. “I like players to play a certain way and look a certain way. But fortunately, in women’s basketball, players are sponges in a way.
They begin to take on the image of the coach, and you can convince them what good playing time is.”