McHenry steps down at North Pole (Basketball)

April 5, 2011

After 10 seasons as boys basketball coach at North Pole High School, head coach Kevin McHenry will hang up the whistle to spend more time with his family.

McHenry enjoyed unprecedented success this season in which he guided his alma mater into the 4A state semifinals for the first time in school history and back to the state tournament for the first time in 17 years.

He won 139 career games and ended his career with a MAC championship and a state tournament victory.

McHenry was all smiles after winning this year’s MAC championship.

In the end, though, he didn’t want his coaching duties to take away time with his 8-year-old son Quinn.

“It all comes down to wanting to spend more time with my son than everybody else’s sons,” McHenry told me. “I love our guys and I’ve had good relationships with all of our teams, and this year’s team no different. I just love my kid more.

“Nothing is driving me away, more of a positive pulling me away.”

McHenry goes out on top after helping the Patriots reach the big dance following several frustrating seasons of woulda, coulda, shoulda in a playoff system in which you have to win your region championship to advance to state. Other 4A regions have up to three berths.

Getting there was a big deal. Winning a first-round game was historic. It was the first time a MAC team advanced to the final four in 13 years.

“Definitely a really good way to go out,” he said.

McHenry plans to stay involved with the game despite not coaching. He will handle color commentary on the radio for weekly games in the Fairbanks area and stay affiliated with the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches.

But it won’t equal the relationships he built with his players.

“We talk all the time about how our team is a family and it’s not just talk that’s really how it feels,” McHenry said. “You never lose that connection.”