June 23rd, 2024

Henderson excited for summer of coaching Mavs

By JAMES TUBB on June 7, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks assistant coach Cody Henderson hits ground balls ahead of the Mavs’ Thursday night contest at Athletic Park against the Swift Current 57’s.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

It took a couple of weeks for Cody Henderson to join the Medicine Hat Mavericks, but the assistant coach is ready for the summer ahead.

Henderson joined the Mavs ahead of their 16-5 loss Sunday at Athletic Park to the Fort McMurray Giants and has been serving his assistant coach role since.

His first two games on the staff were losses, the 16-5 defeat and a 10-0 shutout loss to the same Giants on Monday. No one was happier than him with the Mavs’ 6-4 win Wednesday on the road over the Lethbridge Bulls.

Henderson joked after his first game in Medicine Hat he was bad luck with the Mavs going 4-1 before his arrival. The jokes show how comfortable the new coach has already gotten with his new team.

“It’s been good so far, getting my feet wet, just trying to get comfortable with everything,” Henderson said. “The guys are great.”

Henderson’s arrival was late only because the school he works for, the Embry-Riddle University Eagles in Daytona Beach, Fla., were playing in the NCAA DII Super Regionals.

Henderson, a graduate assistant coach with the Eagles, says they had 10 games left in the season and had to win seven to make regionals. They rattled off seven straight to make it into that regional, which they won to play the No. 1 ranked Tampa Nya Spartans. They won the first of the best-of-three series before falling two straight.

It was the first time the Eagles reached the Super Regionals and second time they made the NCAA Div. II. Henderson says it was an insightful playoff run on what it takes to have success in baseball.

“It gives me that kind of insight to what it takes to win at a high level and play at a high level, hopefully I can transfer that to these guys,” Henderson said. “Some of them are in good programs and hopefully some of the things I can show them and teach them is what it takes to get to an elite level because you get to the Super Regionals, you have 16 teams left in our country.

“It was a cool experience and hopefully, just showing I’ve been at a winning level and that can help me here.”

Henderson found the job in Medicine Hat while scrolling through the American Baseball Coaches Association website while in a lightning delay at a recruiting camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

He saw the posting and knew he had some time before games would start up so he gave Greg Morrison a call and the process was started.

“We talked for probably 30-45 minutes and there was interest,” Henderson said. “Then we got on a couple of Zoom calls with Kevin (Mitchell) and then kind of went from there. So that’s kind of how it originated, I just called them out of the blue.”

Henderson has enjoyed getting to know Mitchell throughout the winter and says early on he’s taken more of a back seat role to see how the Mavs do things. He’ll then look for where he can incorporate his knowledge and philosophies to help find success.

“The thing I love about summer ball is you get guys from all over, you learn from each other,” Henderson said. “They like learning things, the players are learning things from us and it’s just kind of different things all coming into one in one organization. I just like the philosophy. It’s loose around here, but we get down to business and that’s from being here for two days I’ve learned that.”

Mitchell, the Mavs’ returning head coach and the reigning WCBL coach of the year, spoke early in the Mavs’ season about sharing the bench with Henderson and the excitement he shares with their baseball minds.

“From the moment I talked to Cody, we had a connection on a deep level of the way we feel about baseball and what it means to us,” Mitchell said. “So that was to me, kind of a no brainer from the jump.”

Henderson has coached in Medicine Hat before, behind the bench of the Montana Lewistown Redbirds who play American Legion baseball. He remembered liking the facilities in Medicine Hat and enjoying their trip through the prairies playing in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Fort Macleod.

He got into coaching in 2020 after deciding not to play summer ball but work at the American Legion level. He started with the U16 team and then moved to the U18 level in 2021. He remembers a graduating player from that 2021 team who wrote them a letter about their impact as coaches and has been hooked ever since.

“That was kind of a wow, I’m actually making an impact on guys,” Henderson said. “I have friends that are working in office jobs and everything like that. When I say I’m going to work, it was when I had to go work at this bar to make some money. I don’t say I’m going to work when I’m going to the field because typically that’s my job, but I’m not going to work. I love being out here.

“Even if it’s one guy a year and he says, ‘I never thought of it that way,’ from me is just that rewarding thing. It sounds cliche but it’s a real thing and seeing when something clicks for guys or the relationships, my best friends are guys I met through baseball.

So it’s the relationships and then just the love of still being around the game.”

The Mavs were in action Thursday, hosting the Swift Current 57’s at Athletic Park. They won 10-1, visit medicinehatnews.com/sports for a full story. The Mavs are at Brooks today, taking on the Bombers. They host the Weyburn Beavers for a two-game set Saturday and Sunday at AP.

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