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RIP Joe Henson

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I attended the funeral for Joe last year. My high school coach wrestled for Oklahoma A & M and was an all-American in 1939 on Ed Gallagher's last team. Stanley Henson, Joe's older brother (who is the oldest living 3-time NCAA champ he is in his mid 90s) was effectively the head coach due to Gallagher's failing health. I had always wondered how Joe Henson wound up at the Naval Academy when his brother was an all-time great at OSU. His son provided the details in his eulogy of his father.


His son said in 1937 or 1938 Ed Gallagher took Oklahoma A & M in an old bus back east to wrestle Penn State, Navy, Lehigh, and Syracuse in dual meets, which they won easily. Ray Swartz (if my memory is correct) was the head coach at Navy, he found out that Stanley Henson wanted to become a doctor. So he helped Stanley get admitted to medical school in a university near the Naval Academy, and hired him to be the assistant coach at Navy. Then he helped get Joe Henson an appointment to the Naval Academy.


As a plebe you walked down the hallway and upper classmen would call you to attention, you had to state your name and where you were from. OSU had beaten Navy something like 38-3 and these upperclassmen remembered that. When he said Oklahoma, they asked do you wrestle? When he said yes, they said welcome aboard!


I had the privilege of viisting with him at 2 or 3 different Hall of Fame luncheons and a Hall of Fame induction banquet. Definitely an unforgettable person and true gentleman.

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