Taking a hard look at its latest batch of football coach candidates — the third such job search in a matter of months — the Hunter administration decided the most important factor was to hire someone who wanted to be at the school, and would take care of their kids.
Hunter pegged Scott Henderson, a former head coach at Taylorsville and Granite, as its man. As a defensive coordinator, Henderson helped the Wolverines win a state championship in 2003. And he's "estatic" to finally be back.
"My body left, but my heart stayed at Hunter," Henderson says. "It's a dream job for any coach - I've interviewed for the job four or five times."
Henderson finally wooed the Wolverines this time with a pitch to return to tradition. He talked to the administration about his desire to return Hunter to power running football, and connect the players with a sense of history.
It also spoke volumes that he drew recommendations from past school greats such as Matt Asiata and Ray Feinga.
After an abrupt departure from coach Les Hamilton in November and a tenure by Tim Murphy that never got off the ground, the administration was receptive to Henderson's obvious desire to return.
"It was cool to see that he had a lot of ties here, and we'd knew he'd be there for our kids," vice principal Craig Stauffer said. "After what happened, that was one of our major priorities. It was neat to see him meet with the kids, and talk about coaching their older brothers."
Henderson hopes to turn around a program that went 3-7 last year. The Wolverines did make the playoffs, but went through a lot of preseason lumps. Hunter didn't score a point in its first three games.
It will take a lot of work, Henderson said, but he hopes the Wolverines can recapture some of the spirit that made them a feared football program in the past.
"We can get back on track," he said. "You just gotta get out and show them that you're there, that you've got their back. You got to love them to death, and help them be the best they can be."
— Kyle Goon