The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 11, 2014

Corey Henry to lead Mustang football program

Corey Henry has been promoted to head football coach at McDonald County High School.

Chris Gwartney recently stepped down after four years as the Mustangs’ head coach. It was his seventh year in football overall at McDonald County.

Henry, 27, a 2005 graduate of Afton High School, has been head junior high coach two seasons.

The Mustangs will be members of the Big 8 Conference next fall after several years as an independent with the breakup of the Southwest Conference.

“Definitely, it’s a challenge,” Henry said of replacing Gwartney and improving the Mustangs. “It all starts with numbers.

“We’ll do several things in the summer,” Henry said. “I’m familiar with most of our players. But I want to become more familiar with them.”

Henry said he will be the offensive coordinator but indicated building a staff isn’t near complete.

“I’ll try to find the best group and, hopefully, I’ll be the weakest link,” Henry said.

“I’m also the boys freshman basketball coach and right now I’m concentrating on those duties,” Henry said.

Said Gwartney: “It’s a good hire. Coach Henry is very knowledgeable about football. He’s very personable. He’ll do a good job. Plus, we should bring back all but four starters.

“It was time for me to step aside,” Gwartney said. “It was just time. I’ll be 62 on May 8. I’ve been coaching 37 years.

“I have three grandchildren. Devan Kramer is a senior at Grove High School. Makayla (Kramer) is a sophomore at Grove. Beckham Beyers is 4 years old and lives at Grove. I’ve been missing all those things they’ve been doing.”

Gwartney and wife Cheryl (formerly Cole) are graduates of Wyandotte High School.

Henry, whose dad Shell was a stalwart on Chris Cawyer’s state championship team at Picher in the mid-1980s, attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before finishing at Oklahoma State.

Henry’s coaching experience at the prep level includes time with Chris Risenhoover at Miami and the combination of Shannon Watford and Joe McCulley at Hennessey, McCulley, former Grove coach and University of Tulsa quarterback, is married to a Corey Henry aunt.

Henry played for Jerry Springer at Afton.

“We’re still close,” Henry said of Springer (who teaches at Afton). “I’m glad I played for him. He always is in your corner regardless of what happens.”

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