In the words of a friend, Bill Henson ’56 has “more than lived up to the motto of the Class of ’56: ‘He profits most who serves best.”‘ At SHS Bill played football and co-captained the track team and was in Choir, Men’s Chorus, Varsity S Club and Hi-Y Club. At Ohio State he lettered in track and soccer and was vice president of Kappa Phi Kappa, the education fraternity.
In 26 years as an Army officer, Bill served five combat tours in Vietnam, Dominican Republic and Granada in ranger and airborne units. He was decorated several times for valor and meritorious service by the U.S. as well as two foreign governments. Bill represented the U.S. during conferences in seven European countries. He taught and coached at both the university and high school levels in the U.S. and Italy. Of his high school students, 98% graduated, 70% entered the military, 18 were accepted into the five U.S. military academies, and his students won more than $4.5 million in scholarships.
In his 15 years of teaching high school, students nominated him 8 times for Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers and fellow teachers recognized him as an outstanding teacher 14 times. University of California-Davis named him Outstanding Military Science Instructor in 1970. Fort Lewis (Washington) recognized Bill as one of two outstanding ROTC instructors in 1971, and Fort Huachuca (Arizona) honored him as Hispanic supervisor of the year in 2003. His military teams won two European track and field and two cross country championships and two soccer titles. His high school track teams posted 288 wins versus 36 losses, won 18 conference championships and had 12 undefeated seasons while 17 of his runners won Arizona state titles. Bill was named Southern Arizona track coach of the year three times (1996, 1997, 2000), and he coached the U.S. high school teams that competed in China in 1996 and in Australia in 1998. Bill is married to Ina Irey Henson ’60, and they live in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Nominator: Dale Bianucci. Presenter: Roger Copeland, former SHS teacher and coach.