By Mike Deak
NORTH MANCHESTER – Manchester High School announced Thursday that Eli Henson has been approved by the school board to become the new boys basketball head coach.
Henson comes to the Squires after a four-year stint at Whitko, where he led the Wildcats to a 10-win season in 2019-20. Henson won 46 games in his four seasons in South Whitley. The Wildcats also finished in the top half of the Three Rivers Conference in each of the past two seasons. Henson was also 4-1 against the Squires in direct competition at Whitko.
Starting as a head coach at North White in 2011, Henson turned around a program that mired through very lean years to win 63 games in five years, including a sectional title.
Henson replaces Mark Underwood, who coached Manchester the past four seasons. Responsible for a 43-52 mark in those seasons, Underwood oversaw the team reaching the sectional championship twice in those four seasons, including a 14-win campaign in 2018-19.
Manchester, which has basketball history dating nearly a century, hasn’t won a sectional since 1995 and sees a fifth head coach in the past 20 years.
“First, we were thrilled to see so many fantastic candidates interested in Manchester basketball,” began Manchester athletic director Eric Screeton in a statement. “Coach Henson separated himself from the pack with his nine years of head coaching experience, his player development and youth development strategies, and the positive praise from administrators, coaches, teachers, families, and players that have been around him. Eli is passionate, prepared, and enthusiastic. We have seen his leadership style and his ability to game-plan up close and personal over the past four years as part of the Whitko-Manchester rivalry. He will be a welcomed addition to the Squire Athletic family.”
Henson and his wife, Stephanie, welcomed their first child, Hayden, just a week ago.