Former Spring Valley coach Hensley honored
SPRING VALLEY — The fans in the bleachers, players in the dugouts, personnel in the press box and workers in the concession stand applauded Jim Hensley on Monday.
That was fitting, because the former Spring Valley High School baseball coach who was honored before the Timberwolves contest with Huntington High was influential in building all those facilities.
Austin Pratt, Hensley’s successor as head coach of the Timberwolves after four season of being an assistant, praised his former boss for building the Spring Valley program literally and figuratively.
“If not for him, none of us coaches would have any sports,” Pratt said of Hensley, to whom he presented a framed Spring Valley jersey with No. 20 on the front. “He helped build the facility — the press box, the dugouts, the concession stand, for baseball and softball.”
Pratt said Hensley greatly impacted him as a coach.
“He’s still a big influence,” Pratt said. “He helped me learn the game. High school baseball can be confusing with substituting and the rules that go with it, but he knows all that. He’s here for most of our games and is one of our biggest fans.”
Hensley retired to spend more time at a different ball field. He has two grandchildren playing T-ball, two in Little League and one in minor league.
“I got on the bus coming back from Parkersburg last year and realized I had already missed two or three of the grandkids’ games,” Hensley said. “I knew then it was time for me to move on.”
Hensley led Spring Valley baseball from 2007 through 2017 and was Mountain State coach of the year in 2013. Before that, he coached Timberwolves softball and won a state championship in 2006. Prior to that, Hensley coached baseball at Buffalo-Wayne.
Huntington High coach Danny Harbert said he greatly admires Hensley.
“Jim is the ultimate sportsmanship guy,” Harbert said. “He’s a class act. When we had an assistant coach pass away, Jim did a tribute for him. He’s a great coach and role model for the kids.”