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Henry is New Mexico high school ‘Coach of the Year’

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Since he was lured from Cibola High School to coach at Cleveland High a few years ago, Kenny Henry has had a big impact on the success of the Storm’s cross country and track and field programs. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

Since he was lured from Cibola High School to coach at Cleveland High a few years ago, Kenny Henry has had a big impact on the success of the Storm’s cross country and track and field programs. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday the state-by-state winners of its inaugural High School Coach of the Year award.

One boys coach and one girls coach from each of the 50 states were honored for their successes during the 2014 track and field season, as selected by a committee of experts from around the nation.

Cleveland High cross country and boys track and field coach Kenny Henry was announced as the recipient for New Mexico.

The winners from each state are in consideration for the association’s first National High School Coach of the Year award. Selected by a panel of track and field experts, one boys coach and one girls coach from among all the states will be announced later this month as the national winners.

“We’ve established a tradition of recognizing our nation’s top collegiate coaches on a yearly basis, and we felt it was time to shine the spotlight on our best coaches at the high school level,” USTFCCCA CEO Sam Seemes said.

“As a professional coaches association, we deeply value the excellent work being done by high school coaches around the country, embodied by all of today’s award winners. They are not only preparing student-athletes for their next competitions but, more importantly, the next steps along their paths to adulthood.”

State-by-state winners were selected based on their teams’ performances throughout the 2014 track and field season. Among the factors taken into consideration were team score and placement at the state championships, the number of different events in which student-athletes were qualified, individual championships and how their teams’ performances stacked up to previous years (i.e., first title in school history, consecutive titles, etc.).

“This is the most prestigious award that a high school coach could ever attain,” National Senate of High School Track Coaches Associations Executive Chair Don Helberg said. “I am so happy and proud that USTFCCCA has added this award to the collegiate awards they already present.”

“Kenny Henry is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, an outstanding individual,” Cleveland High Athletic Coordinator Larry Chavez said. “Coach Henry is a role model for our younger coaches and our athletes to model after.  I am very proud that Coach Henry is a part of the coaching staff here at Cleveland High School.”

An inaugural High School Coach of the Year award for cross country will be bestowed during the upcoming 2014 season.

The USTFCCCA is a nonprofit professional organization representing cross country and track and field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 8,000 coaching members encompassing 94 percent of all NCAA track and field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA as well as a number of state high school coaches associations.

The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track and field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track and field.

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