Coach Profile of the Week: Ron McHenry

Over the past week, the women’s basketball team took on the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers. The Ichabods fought hard against the no. 16 ranked Tiger. Leading the way at the top of the women’s basketball team is head coach Ron McHenry.

Ron McHenry grew up in McLouth, Kansas. After he graduated high school from McLouth High, he played basketball for Coffeyville Community College. From Coffeyville, he played a short period for the University of Kansas before transferring to Washburn where he finished his career as a player.

He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team. From there, he went to Perry High School where he was an assistant coach for one year. Following that, he went to the Topeka Sizzlers, a team in the Continental Basketball Association. McHenry left the Sizzlers to become an assistant coach at Washburn for the men’s side in 1989, but it was not until 2000 when he received the position of head coach. 

McHenry and his wife, Mischa, whom he met in high school, have three kids, Ronnie, Dani and Sami. Dani, 36, and Sami, 28, both played basketball and volleyball at Washburn. Dani is a member of the Washburn Hall of Fame and was part of the 2004 Women’s National Championship Team. Ronnie, 25, was part of the golf team during his time at Washburn.

To McHenry, Washburn is home.

“If you’ve been in a place 30 plus years, you don’t know anything different. Even though I am from McLouth, Topeka is my home. It is where I raised my children and where I have coached most of my career,” McHenry said. 

The life of every coach is busy. When coaches have the time, they like to do hobbies they enjoy the most. McHenry’s hobbies are simple.

“I like to golf. Whenever I have the time I try to get out and golf. I don’t know of any other hobbies,” McHenry said. “Mowing lawns isn’t a hobby, it’s a chore.”

From McHenry’s perspective, coaching is a way for him to be able to give back to the game that he loves. Not only that, McHenry enjoys the ability to coach high level talent and learn from strong competition.

“I always enjoyed the game a lot. Not only playing the game but figuring it out, being able to watch basketball even if it’s not us. I love to learn it still. I like to see what people are doing with it, it’s kind of like a chess game,” Mc Henry said. “Also, I am a very competitive person. I can’t compete anymore, [so] it allows me to be able to channel that and compete with my team.

“I enjoy being able to coach really quality players. We are at the level here where we aren’t [NCAA] Division I, but we are close. I enjoy being able to be around good athletes. The talent level we have here is good.”

After college, McHenry received a degree in communications. He knew that going down that path was not right for him. Instead, he wanted to coach.

“Nowhere in my background was I thinking about coaching. I got a hint from a buddy that wanted to go down to Wichita State to get his masters, and I think he needed a roommate or something, so he said that I should go into coaching. That’s kind of how I got my masters in sports administration,” McHenry said. “It wasn’t something that I wanted to be since I was four years old or something, it was just something that I wanted to be. Fortunately, coach [Bob] Chipman saw something in me that he wanted to put me on his staff. That is basically the luck of coaching. It is a very fun job. It fills a lot of needs for you, but there are few openings. You have to be fortunate to get in the right spot and move from there.”

Even with a national title under his belt, McHenry believes that raising children has been his greatest achievement. 

“It is a challenge in itself to get them to where you want them to be successful. Having three children that are successful [has] been a great part of my life,” McHenry said. “Obviously, the national championship was special. We had a talented team and our kids really grinded.”

This years team returns most of its starters from last. For them, they hope to improve on last year and make a deep run into the MIAA Tournament and the National Tournament. 

McAfee said, “I think this season will go great. We have some returners as well as some really good newcomers. That mixture will give us a great chance to do well! Personally, I am working on lowering my turnovers to improve my assist to turnover ratio.

McHenry and the women’s basketball team begin the season Friday, Nov. 9 against Augustana Univeristy. The game will be played in Kansas City, Missouri, at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium.