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Archive for Monday, July 17, 2006

Keegan: QB Club a labor of love

July 17, 2006

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The glamorous life of a college football assistant coach includes plenty of travel. And we're not talking about road games. We're talking about picking up the family and moving to the next job.

Consider all the places Pat Henderson, now an assistant to athletic director Lew Perkins, worked as an assistant football coach:

Kansas University, Coffeyville, Nebraska-Omaha, Indiana State, University of Tulsa, Arizona State, Purdue, TCU, back to Tulsa, SMU, back to KU.

For the past 14-and-a-half years of that odyssey, Henderson could count on one constant, even when everything went wrong on the football field: When he came back home, his dog, Storm, gave him the greeting to end all greetings. Henderson lost his chatty dog this past week.

Old Storm meant a lot to him.

So does KU football.

As part of his duties at KU, Henderson runs the Quarterback Club ($100 to join; for more information call Henderson at 864-3196), which will release its schedule of events this week.

Henderson shared who's speaking Aug. 1 at the Boots Adams Alumni Center, and he's looking forward to it: Mark Mangino, on whose staff Henderson worked until having a heart attack and reaching the conclusion he needed to change duties.

"I think he's a great speaker," Henderson said. "One of the beauties that comes through, and it's why we really like having him out there, he speaks form the heart. It's not a canned speech. It's not the same old, same old. He's very funny, very quick-witted. And he's a very bright guy. He can speak to a lot of different groups and not be uncomfortable. He's much more of an intellectual than people think. Because he's so blue-collar in appearance and work habits and upbringing, I think it surprises people when they hear him speak."

The event kicks off the Quarterback Club, which after that moves to selected Monday nights at the Eldridge. Highlight films, guest speakers and Henderson telling stories are on the menu. Such as this one from his days at Indiana State:

"We used to have this great big gorgeous mobile home one of the banks let us use three weekends a year. We'd get all the recruits on the same bus so they could intermingle. They could only be with us 24 hours, from the time we picked them up, and 24 hours in Terre Haute was plenty, so we didn't mind that extra six hours on the bus. We were picking up guys in Chicago this weekend at three different shopping malls, and the last one was up in Gary."

Purdue was picking up players at one of the same malls, 15 minutes before Indiana State. A couple of players mistakenly boarded the Purdue bus.

"About an hour later, I get a call from Betty Raetz, the (Indiana State) head coach's wife, and she told me she got a call from Bob Spoo, an assistant coach from Purdue, who told her they had two of our recruits," Henderson said. "I called up Bob Spoo and said, 'Mr. Spoo, this is Steve Johnson from the NCAA. I just got a call about you tampering with Indiana State recruits. Do you have some of their recruits on campus right now?' He starts panicking and says, 'Oh no, that's not what happened.' Finally, I started laughing and told him who I am."

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