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Archive for Wednesday, September 14, 1994

PAT HENDERSON

September 14, 1994

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Two decades as an assistant football coach, and not once has Pat Henderson had to face his alma mater.

That streak will end on Saturday night, however.

"It'll be the first game I'll have to root against them," Henderson said.

Henderson, a member of Kansas' 1973 Liberty Bowl team, is the defensive co-ordinator at Texas Christian, the Jayhawks' foe this weekend.

In part because of a bad knee, Henderson wasn't a regular at Kansas. He logged only a couple of downs in the Liberty Bowl, for example. Yet he spent five years in the program and another season as a graduate assistant.

Then Dick Foster, a Kansas aide, was named head coach at Coffeyville CC and he invited Henderson to join his staff.

"We went 11-0 and I thought I must be good at coaching," Henderson said. "But I think Ron Springs had more to do with it than I did."

Springs was a running back who later became a standout at Ohio State.

A product of Northeast High in Kansas City, Mo., the 42-year-old Henderson didn't become a coach by chance.

"I knew when I was in high school that that's what I wanted to do," Henderson said. "I had dreams about coming back to Northeast as head coach."

He never has, though.

After a couple of years at Coffeyville, Henderson moved up to the four-year school ranks at Nebraska-Omaha, where he worked under Sandy Buda, another former KU aide.

Then he took another step up to Indiana State, where he worked as defensive co-ordinator for three seasons. Next were two years at Tulsa and three years at Arizona State, where his boss was John Cooper. Cooper, now head coach at Ohio State, had recruited Henderson when he was an assistant coach at KU.

When Cooper went to Columbus, Henderson shifted to Purdue where he spent four years. He's in his first season in Fort Worth.

Henderson's journeys have been more or less typical of the profession.

"Until you get in it you can't appreciate the nature of the beast," he said. "That's its positive, and that's its negative. But there are other professions where you move around a lot, too."

Henderson's focus this week, of course, is stopping a Kansas offense that has produced wins over Houston and Michigan State.

"We're really impressed. Glen (Mason) has done a great job," Henderson said. "They play really hard. They're not real fancy, but they're typical of a Big Eight and Big 10 team. Their offensive line comes off the ball as well as any we've seen."

Henderson's defense surrendered 27 points to North Carolina two weeks ago and 29 to New Mexico last weekend.

"We've gotta get a tougher mentality than we've had the last two weeks," he said, "and get ready for smash-mouth football."

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