Jan. 14, 2010
Rome, Ga. - Shorter College Director of Athletics Bill Peterson announced today the hiring of Josh Henson as the College's first-ever head wrestling coach at a press conference held this morning on the College's campus.
Henson comes to Shorter from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an All-American wrestler before serving as an assistant with the Quakers from 2002-04 and again from 2005 until his recent hiring with the Hawks.
"I am very excited to be in Georgia and at Shorter College," said Henson. "The wrestling community here is passionate about wrestling and the excitement about a four-year school adding wrestling is almost palatable. At the same time, the athletic department at Shorter is expanding in every direction and achieving unprecedented success.
"This is a perfect combination for building a wrestling program and growing wrestling in the southeast."
"We are excited to welcome Josh into our family at Shorter College," said Peterson. "Josh comes from a tremendous wrestling pedigree and is an extremely bright young coach. We look forward to a positive future for our wrestling program under his leadership."
In a deep and talented applicant pool to fill the head job at Shorter - Georgia's only four-year collegiate varsity wrestling program - Henson emerged as the best of the best.
He began his collegiate wrestling career at the University of Nebraska where he was a two-year letter winner for the Huskers. Henson transferred to Penn in 2000, where he developed into one of the program's most successful grapplers.
In his senior season in 2002, Henson won the EIWA Championship title at 165 pounds and finished seventh at the NCAA Nationals, earning All-American honors in the process. That year, Henson set a Penn record for single-season wins, posting 36 victories - a record he still holds to this day.
Henson stayed on with the Quaker wrestling program upon his graduation in 2002 with a degree in Psychology. He assisted legendary Penn head coach Roger Reina from 2002-04, helping guide the 2003-04 Penn squad to an upset of No. 3 Iowa State University and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA National Duals.
In 2004, Henson left the Penn program to train and instruct at the United States Olympic Wrestling Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co.
During his training, Henson placed seventh in Greco Roman style at the 2005 U.S. Open where he earned All-American status. He climbed as high as No. 3 in the 2005 Senior National Rankings at 74 kilograms in Greco Roman.
He returned to Penn in 2005 as an assistant coach and has enjoyed tremendous success in all phases.
Henson has coached seven NCAA All-Americans, two NCAA national champions, five first team Academic All-Americans, 13 conference champions, and 40 NCAA national qualifiers while also helping his teams to three top 25 finishes in team GPA.
In his second tenure with the Quakers, Henson honed his coaching skills under former Penn head coach and current head coach of the United States Freestyle Wrestling Team, Zeke Jones.
Shorter will begin competition on the mats in the fall of 2010 and compete in the Mid-South Conference, and Henson feels that while building a program certainly has its challenges, the ingredients are in place to potentially enjoy some instant success not only in the win loss column, but in the lives and futures of young athletes.
"The biggest challenge with starting a new program is building the right culture that will produce success not only on the wrestling mat, but also in the classroom and in the community," said Henson. "This is a very exciting time to be involved with Shorter Wrestling and we are looking for wrestlers who are excited about building a legacy of excellence and integrity."
Henson will pioneer one of three new wrestling programs to be introduced in the 2010-2011 academic year, and understands that Shorter may serve as a litmus test for future grappling programs in the state and region - a task for which he is very prepared.
"I really believe the wrestling program at Shorter is important to the wrestling community as a whole and especially wrestling in the southeastern part of the country," Henson said. "The support has been tremendous so far and I am confident and excited to see the wrestling community in Georgia and the southeast step up to this great opportunity."