The Advocate

Athletic department searches for football coach

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

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Following the resignation and subsequent hiring of former football coach Alonzo Carter by San Jose State University, Athletic Director John Wade has named associate head coach Pat Henderson as the interim coach for the Comet football team.

Although the position has not been officially filled yet, Henderson fits the usual criteria Wade uses to find potential coaching candidates.

Wade looks for candidates with extensive coaching experience and most importantly people with close ties to the East Bay community that Contra Costa College serves.

“The position is still open, people have to apply, we have to get a committee together and decide who is going to be the best fit,” Wade said. “We want the best person to get our program where we have to go to compete in the conference that we are in now.”

For now Henderson manages the football class and keeps the students on task and maintaining education plans.

An Oakland native, Henderson graduated from McClymonds High School in 2004. He currently works mentoring kids at various campuses for the Oakland Unified School District.

An accomplished athlete, he ended his high school playing career by being named to the 2004 San Francisco Chronicle All-Bay Area and All-Oakland Athletic League first team.

Following high school, the defensive back played all four years at Oregon State (2006-09), appearing in every game of his career for the Beavers.

“My biggest attribute is discipline. I take pride in being organized,” Henderson said. “I think that’s what a lot of these guys need. They all have dreams and a vision. It’s my job to help them construct a plan that is tangible and attainable.”

For the Beavers, Henderson returned kicks as a junior and senior, running back 12 kicks for 293 yards. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2010.

The coach also has close ties to Contra Costa College.  

Henderson worked four seasons (2010-13) as an assistant to Carter prior to returning in 2016. He coached the defensive backs each year and also served as the defensive coordinator in 2013.

During those years, the Comets played in the 2012 and 2013 Living Breath Foundation Bowl, winning in 2012.

“Carter was really busy finishing his degree last year, so he wasn’t really hands-on because of his own school work, which is understandable,” sophomore receiver Semaj Mitchell said. “Coach Henderson is really on us about school work and everything seems to be about discipline rather than (football) ability.”

In 2014, the Oakland native enrolled in the University of Southern California’s master’s program and accepted a job with the Trojan football team as a graduate assistant coach, primarily working with the defense for two seasons (2014-15).

In 2014, USC’s defense was in the nation’s Top 20 in turnover margin, red zone defense and third down conversion defense. The team played in the 2014 Holiday Bowl.

In 2015, USC’s defense was in the national Top 25 in turnover margin, fourth down conversion defense, sacks and defensive touchdowns. USC made a return appearance to the Holiday Bowl in 2015.

In seven years of coaching, Henderson’s teams have made four bowl game appearances finishing with two wins and two losses.

“Being in a coaching position here at CCC we’re able to cast a wider net, to bring guys in and give them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” Henderson said. “I was one of those kids in their shoes at one time.”

Carter’s acumen as a recruiter is what made him successful and is partially why he was hired at SJSU. In college athletics, players find their way to a campus usually because of a coach’s influence.

“The offseason plan is more organized with more energy and just a better environment overall,” CCC sophomore linebacker Amari Mount said.

“I was happy to come back. I got a chance to meet coach Pat (Henderson) I saw him around last year but since I didn’t play that season we didn’t get to talk that much. Carter leaving put a whole in my heart, but we are still going to get the job done.”

With the Comet roster comprised largely of freshman, many are wondering what retention will be now that Carter’s larger-than-life presence has left the building.

“Regardless if I’m here or not, these kids need help,” Henderson said. “I’m here, I’m willing and qualified to do the work, but the decision is out of my hands.”

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Robert Clinton, Associate Editor

rclinton.theadvocate@gmail.com

 

-  @Rclinton3

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.
Athletic department searches for football coach