Hensley reflects on 13 years (and counting) as Crothersville head coach

During Crothersville’s sixth game this season, the Tigers took on Columbus Christian at home on Nov. 23.

The girls picked up their first win of the season during the game, 83-52.

The win was not only the first of the season, but it was thought to be a record-breaking victory for head coach Kevin Hensley. It was win No. 114 for Hensley coaching the Crothersville girls team, which was thought to be a school record.

But it turned out Jerry Owens holds the record at 120 wins for the Crothersville boys team, and the record books were missing seven wins from this final season at Crothersville.

Hensley still holds the record for all-time girls wins at Crothersville, now standing at 115 after a win over Cannelton on Dec. 3, but the overall school record is going to have to wait a bit longer.

Hensley, in his 13th year at the helm, doesn’t think too much about the record.

“I don’t really keep up with that stuff,” he said. “I just go with the flow, and I try to help my team win. That’s all I worry about.”

Coaching was never something Hensley sought out to do. He was a basketball player himself at Crothersville with his senior year being played in 1980.

In the late 90’s, former coach Dan Wright reached out to Hensley since he knew he played basketball. There were too many kids in junior high, and there were three junior high teams, so Wright asked Hensley if he’d be interested in coaching one of them.

Hensley admitted he had no coaching experience, but he told Wright he’d give it a shot coaching the fifth and sixth graders.

Turns out that was all what was needed.

“Once I got in there, I got the fever, and I loved it,” Hensley said.

He moved up quickly within the Crothersville coaching ranks. He went from the fifth and sixth graders to the seventh and eighth graders, and before he knew it, he was at the high school level.

His coaching tenure stands at 16 years right now, and he’s been coaching the Crothersville high school girls for 13 of those.

“I like all of the kids, whether it’s boys or girls because I get to be around both,” Hensley said. “I just like being around the kids and teaching the game to them, teaching what I grew up knowing. It’s really fun to watch them grow as players and as people. They learn a lot about themselves and how stressful it can be sometimes. It helps them along the way. I tell them all the time how this teaches you life lessons, and they don’t see it early on.”

In college, players can stay for a year or two and then leave for the NBA. In the NBA, players can be on a team for a year or two before moving on. But at the high school level, if a kid commits to playing for all four years, a coach can really see that player develop from a freshman to a senior.

That’s what Hensley enjoys seeing.

“It’s very rewarding,” he said.

He specifically points out the example of a player he used to coach named Alexis Adair.

Adair played for Hensley, and now, she is one of the assistant coaches alongside Hensley.

“To see a player like that want to come back and be a part of my coaching staff, that really makes me feel great,” Hensley said. “That maybe I did some good to some kids to help them pass along the game. Alexis was a great player, too, and now she has the fever of teaching kids.”

Basketball is a game he has always enjoyed being around. He loved playing when he started coaching, and he admits he still loves playing even though he’s older.

The Tigers have 12 games remaining in the regular season this year.

Hensley will achieve seven more wins to break the record some day, but as long as he can keep coaching, teaching his players and sharing the love of the game, he’ll be happy.