Henry was son, father, grandfather of coaches
Gwinn “Bub” Henry, says his son Matt, was a seemingly inexhaustible well of kindness, knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm.
Every day of their lives, Bub’s five sons drank deeply from that well.
“He’s been everything to us,” Matt Henry said on Sunday in a phone interview. “… I think my dad was the reason, and I’m not bragging, I’m just saying the things that we’ve done are what our daddy taught us.”
Bub Henry, the son of a coach, father of coaches, grandfather of coaches and a tireless advocate for the University of New Mexico, died at his Albuquerque home on Aug. 13. He was 84.
Henry’s father, Gwinn, was a world-class sprinter who later would be the head football coach at Missouri, Kansas and UNM (1934-36).
Bub — no one called him Gwinn — was an outstanding athlete in his own right at Albuquerque High, but a severely broken leg suffered on the football field ended his career.
His love for sports, though, especially track and field, was passed from generation to generation.
His three eldest sons, Pat, Matt and Mark, and Matt’s son Kenny have combined for 44 team titles as coaches in track and football at the high school and collegiate levels.
But winning at all costs, Matt Henry said, was never what his father was about.
“I think my niece (Shelly, Pat’s eldest daughter) said it better than anybody,” he said. “She said, ‘I never heard my grandfather talk bad about anybody, say anything bad about any situation.’
“He was just a kind man. He was absolutely kind, and I think he learned that from his folks, too.”
Bub Henry was born in Columbia, Mo., but was an impressionable child of 6 when his father became the football coach at UNM.
A great love for all things Lobo was born.
“My dad loved the University of New Mexico, and I don’t know anybody that loved it more than my dad,” said Matt Henry, himself a former UNM track athlete and coach. “I really don’t.”
Bub Henry was in constant pain the past few years, Matt Henry said. Getting around was extremely difficult. Yet, accompanied by his son Mark, he didn’t miss a single Lobos home football game last season — even while the team was going 1-11.
“I think dad would have passed away long before this,” Matt Henry said, “but he had such a positive attitude. He would never, ever complain about how bad he felt.
“People would say, ‘Bub, how are you doing?’ He would always answer ‘wonderful,’ or ‘great.’ … You’d leave (after a conversation) and feel better about being around someone so positive.”
His father, Matt Henry said, died “of natural causes. His system just broke down, and thank goodness, he could just go to sleep.”
Henry retired from UNM in 1990 after a 30-year career, mostly served as director of alumni relations.
In the mid-1980s, he spearheaded the renovation of historic Hodgin Hall on the UNM campus. For years, he organized the school’s homecoming festivities.
Over the decades, Henry acquired a treasure trove of UNM sports memorabilia. In 1986, he donated his collection to the Lettermen’s Room at Hodgin Hall.
Henry is survived by Dona, his wife of 62 years; sons Patrick, Matt, Mark, Tim and Roben; eight grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, six nieces and two nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Gwinn Henry Scholarship Fund at UNM or to the Albuquerque High Lettermen’s Association.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal