Former Mizzou All-American, 2000 Olympic runner-up added to wrestling staff
Sammie Henson was hired as the Head Assistant Coach for the Missouri wrestling program on June 19, 2012, bringing one of the most impressive coaching and wrestling resumes in the country back to the Tiger program.
Returning to his alma mater, Henson most recently served as Assistant Head Coach for the University of Oklahoma from 2009-11, where he assisted with the successful recruiting of some of the nation's best student-athletes, as well as assisting in running the day-to-day operations of one of the most elite wrestling programs in the country.
THE HENSON FILE
St. Charles, Mo.
Wife: Stephanie Children: Jackson, Wyatt, Ruby Jo and Georgia-Kate
Missouri Head Assistant
Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club Head Coach
Oklahoma Head Assistant
Cal Poly Head Assistant
Nebraska Volunteer Assistant
West Point Assistant
Penn State Assistant
Oklahoma Volunteer Assistant
2006 World Bronze Medalist
2000 Olympic Silver Medalist
1998 World Champion
John Smith Award (USA Wrestler of the Year, 1998)
Sullivan Award Finalist (Top Amateur Athlete, 1998)
USA Wrestling Man of the Year (1998)
ACC Wrestler of the Year (Clemson, 1994)
Big Eight Champion (Missouri, 1991)
All-American (Missouri, 1991)
Clemson Athletics Hall of Fame inductee (2000)
Member of Missouri Wrestling Hall of Fame
Two-time ACC Champion (1993, '94)
Two-time NCAA Champion (Clemson, 1993, '94)
Went 71-0 in two seasons with Clemson
His experience and success with the Sooners led to him being one of the final two candidates for their open head coaching position prior to 2011-12, while also being a finalist for Arizona State's head coach vacancy.
Prior to his stint with Oklahoma, Henson served as Head Assistant at Cal Poly (2007-09), Volunteer Assistant at Nebraska (2006-07), along with stops as an assistant at West Point (2002-03) and Penn State (2000-02). With every position Henson has held, he's raised the level of success at those programs. In just two years with the Sooners, he secured the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, coached seven wrestlers to All-America status at the NCAA Championship and helped the program become the top academic squad in the Big 12 during his tenure. Before Henson arrived at Oklahoma, the Sooners hadn't had an All-American in two years, while the team ranked last in the conference in academics.
During his time at Penn State, Henson assisted head coach Troy Sunderland in taking the Nittany Lions from 35th in the country to sixth with a pair of top-five recruiting classes in just two years. He has mentored numerous National Champions, such as Michael Lightner (Oklahoma), Bryon Tucker (Oklahoma) and Paul Donahoe (Nebraska), along with several All-Americans, Big 12 Champions, Big 10 Champions and Pac 12 Champions, including: Shane and Dane Valdez (Oklahoma), Witt Durden (Oklahoma) and Josh and Scott Moore (Penn State), Chad Mendes (Cal Poly), Chase Pami (Cal Poly), Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly), Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma), Zach Bailey (Oklahoma), Kyle Terry (Oklahoma), Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma), and Eric Lapotsky (Oklahoma).
Because of all the success he's had as a coach, Henson has been widely recognized as one of the most elite assistant coaches in the country. Tim Foley of Intermat rated him as the best in the nation in an article from 2010, stating that "Henson's intensity is legendary and seemingly always transferred to his grapplers. There is nothing coincidental about his arrival in Norman and the Sooners impressive 2009-2010 turnaround."
Along with collegiate coaching, Henson is also the current head coach for the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, who has more current world and Olympic wrestlers than any other wrestling club in the United States. Out of the seven freestyle wrestlers who represented Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, three came from the Sunkist Kids. Included in that is Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg/163 lbs. Also representing the United States in the Olympics in 2012 are Sam Hazewenkil (55 kg/121.3 lbs. and Tervel Dlagnev (120 kg/264.6 lbs.).
Henson's resume as a competitor speaks for itself, as he went on to become one of the most celebrated wrestlers in the history of the United States, becoming one of just a few wrestlers in USA history to earn three world medals. In 1998, Henson became a world champion for Team USA at the World Wrestling Championships, held in Tehran, Iran, which eventually led to him winning the John Smith Award for USA Wrestler of the Year. He earned himself a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games at 55 kg (121 lbs.) in Sydney, Australia, and won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Wrestling Championships at 35 years of age.
Additionally, Henson was named USOC Athlete of the Month of September 1998, and was a finalist for the Sullivan Award in 1999 for his efforts in the World Championships. In all, Henson has won over 15 freestyle titles at the International level.
A St. Charles, Mo., native, Henson returns to where he started his collegiate career, as Henson was a Big Eight Champion and All-American for Mizzou in 1991. He then transferred to Clemson, where he became a two-time NCAA Champion, finishing his career with a perfect 71-0 record for the Clemson Tigers. He was named as Clemson's Male Athlete of the Year in 1994 and was inducted into the Clemson Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. Henson returned to Mizzou in 1995 to earn a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.
"I'm excited about this opportunity," Henson said. "I look forward to being a part of the Missouri family. I want to assist Coach Smith in his continued success of recruiting and developing great student-athletes, with understanding of becoming productive people in society as well as winning the program's first NCAA Division I Title. We will work together to obtain them."
Henson returns to Columbia with his wife Stephanie and their four children: Jackson (13), Wyatt (10) and Ruby (8), and Georgia - Kate (5). They also have a dog "Biggie Smalls."