Wildcats Get NCAA-Leading Eighth Homer from Reed, Six RBI from Thomas
Several camps offered in late December
July hitting camp and Labor Day 5-Tool Camp
Gymnastics and Rifle earn team of the year honors
UK Head Coach Gary Henderson, Radio Voice Neil Price to Take Calls at The Cellar on Lansdowne
UK used seven pitchers to win its home opener against Wright State, 7-1.
UK lost to Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament on Tuesday, 4-1.
UK will host a three-game set with Arkansas this weekend after taking two of three at Ole Miss.
UK will look to complete a season sweep of Louisville on Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK took the opener of a three-game series with Tennessee on Friday night, 5-4.
Long considered one of the top pitching coaches in college baseball, Gary Henderson is in his sixth year as the head coach of Kentucky and his 11th season overall with the Wildcats after spending five seasons as the associate head coach.
Henderson, who was UK's associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and pitching coach for five years before becoming the 25th head coach in the history of Wildcat baseball on June 6, 2008, has been a cornerstone in the success of the UK program over the past decade, which includes the best 10-year run in the over 100-year history of the program. Henderson has helped transform the Wildcats into an annual national contender with a dynamic recruiting approach, an attention to fundamentals, a diversity of skills and a constant eye on the mental approach to the game.
The Wildcats are coming off a 30-win season in 2013 that saw UK ranked in the top-25 for 12 of 15 weeks. Kentucky again took aim at the UK record book under Henderson's tutelage, as UK set a new program record for bullpen ERA, with UK boasting a dynamic relief corps that included record-shattering closer Trevor Gott. UK sported a 2.29 bullpen ERA, went 25-0 when staked to an eighth inning lead and finished the year winning 88 consecutive games when leading after eight innings, dating back to 2011. UK also had the third-best fielding percentage in school annals, with two of the top three marks coming under Henderson's eye.
Kentucky again made a splash in the MLB Draft in 2013, as Corey Littrell (fourth round), Gott (fifth round), J.T. Riddle (11th round) and Jerad Grundy (12th round) were all signed to their first professional contracts.
UK is just a year removed from a 2012 campaign that ranked as the best in the history of the program, with Henderson voted Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the league coaches. Henderson directed the Wildcats to a school-record 45-win season, with UK completing its best finishes in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments in school annals.
The 2012 campaign features a bevy of record-setting statistics, with Henderson's pitching staff set new program records in saves (22), innings pitched (570), strikeouts (502) and opponent average (.260). UK also set a new program standard with a .976 fielding mark. A key piece of the UK 2012 season was the dynamic Wildcats bullpen, which owned a staggering 40-0 record when leading after seven innings and a 32-1 mark when leading after four frames. Overall, UK's bullpen owned a 17-6 record, a 2.97 ERA, with 22 saves and a .235 opponent average.
Following the season, a school-record nine UK players were selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, the second-most in the NCAA and the Wildcats sent a nation-leading nine players from its 2013 roster to play in the Cape Cod League or on the USA Collegiate National Team.
During the summer of 2012, Henderson started working with USA Baseball, serving as an instructor during the USA Baseball 14-U National Development Team Program, joining Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay on the USA staff, along with former New York Yankees general manager Bob Watson.
During his five years as the associate head coach, Henderson helped lead the Wildcat program to two then-record 44-win seasons, two NCAA Regional Championship appearances, an NCAA Regional host and the first SEC Championship in UK's 75-year history in the SEC.
Henderson's 2008 pitching staff was the best in the SEC, pacing the conference with a 3.71 team ERA, ranking as the second-best ERA in school history.
A former national assistant coach of the year in 1996 at Florida, Henderson is in his second collegiate head coaching job, with assistant coaching stops at San Diego State, Fullerton State, Riverside CC, Pepperdine, Florida and Oregon State. Henderson's head coaching experience came as the head coach at Chapman University (Calif.), where he helped transition the program to Division I, guiding the program to a national ranking in just its first year.
After securing the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation in 2008 - a school record - Henderson has helped mentor the group into the next phase of their baseball careers, most notably 2011 first-round MLB Draft pick Alex Meyer, who became the second-highest UK draft pick in program history.
Henderson worked tirelessly with Meyer, who arrived at Kentucky as a 6-foot-6, 175-pound projectable right-hander. Meyer and Henderson worked to smooth mechanics and develop on and off the field into a dynamic starter that earned All-SEC honors in 2011. Meyer finished his UK career ranking among the career and single-season record holders, fanning 253 in 211.2 innings, with 13 wins. In 2011, Meyer finished with a 2.94 ERA and a 7-5 mark, striking out 110 in 101 innings. Just a year later, Meyer was on the mound in the MLB Futures Game at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City, as the 32nd-best prospect in the game.
With Henderson guiding the pitching staff in 2009, Kentucky ended the season setting a school-record for strikeouts in a season, fanning 523 as a staff. Kentucky also had three pitchers drafted in the 2009 MLB Draft, including two players who signed contracts. Rusin, a 2009 senior, signed to play in the Chicago Cubs organization after being drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round and has since made his MLB debut. In 2010, UK junior Logan Darnell went in the sixth round to the Minnesota Twins, after going undrafted in high school out of Nashville suburb, Joelton, Tenn.
In 2008, despite playing in a "hitters ballpark", Henderson's pitching staff allowed the fewest home runs in the SEC. That staff also allowed the fewest runs and the fewest earned runs in the SEC in 2008.
One of the stalwarts of the UK pitching staff in 2008 was Albers, whose leadership and competitive fire was a key element to UK's run. Albers was a 10th round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, playing in the minor league system for one season before having Tommy John surgery. After rehabbing and proving his health in the independent leagues, Albers traveled to Lexington to stay in Henderson's basemen and workout. Henderson arranged for scouts from the Minnesota Twins to watch an Albers bullpen and after a second workout session in Florida, Albers signed with the Twins. He completed his fairytale rise to the big leagues in 2013, setting a franchise record for consecutive shutout innings to start his career and earning Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year accolades.
Regarded as one of the top coaches in college baseball in terms of controlling the running game defensively, Henderson had four consecutive years, from 2005 to 2008, where each of his Wildcat staffs led the SEC in fewest stolen bases allowed. Overall, UK has allowed the fewest steals in the SEC in five of his 10 seasons directing the pitching staff.
Henderson's impact can not only be seen in the pitching staff but also in his recruiting ability. His impact was immediate upon his arrival, as UK's first recruiting class under Henderson was hailed as one of the top 25 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Henderson has continued to recruit the best players in the country, as the 2007 class was ranked among the nation's best and the 2008 class was tabbed No. 31. Henderson's 2008 (2009 newcomers) class was widely regarded by many as one of the best class in the nation (fourth overall) and the top recruiting class in program history. The 2009 (2010 newcomers) class wasn't too far behind, ranking in the top-15 in Baseball America and as the sixth- best class in the nation by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Henderson has kept up the recruiting momentum, signing the No. 16 class in the NCAA in 2010 and the No. 25 class in 2011 (2012 newcomers). His 2012 class (2013 newcomers) boasted five previous draftees, a program best, ranking as high as No. 11 in the nation.
Prior to his current post, Henderson spent five seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Oregon State. The Beavers notched the school's first ever College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007, riding the arms of several players recruited by Henderson. The most notable was CWS MVP Kevin Gunderson, who pitched a brilliant postseason in leading the Beavers to the title.
At Oregon State, Henderson coached eight Beaver pitchers who were drafted by major league teams, five of whom were selected in the top eight rounds. With the help of Henderson's recruiting efforts, the Beavers improved from 19 wins in 1999 to 31 in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons, finishing 31-24 and 31-23, respectively. In his time with the Beavers, two of Henderson's recruiting classes were ranked among the top 30 nationally. Meanwhile, his pitching staff led the Pac-10 Conference in complete games in both the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
In 1996, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper tabbed Henderson as the National Assistant Coach of the Year. At the time, he was in his second year at Florida, where he served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for the high-octane Gators from 1995-98. In that time, he helped the Gators to the SEC Championship and the College World Series in both 1996 and 1998. Collegiate Baseball awarded national rankings to all four of Henderson's recruiting classes at Florida, including a No. 4 spot in 1996.
In his playing days, Henderson pitched one year at Linfield College before transferring to San Diego State. He compiled a 19-5 career record at the two schools.
Henderson, a former standout prep quarterback, earned a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State and a master's degree in sports psychology from SDSU.
Henderson and his wife, Vicki, have two sons, Alex (28) and Ty (12).
* Paced UK to the best season in program history in 2012, as UK won a record 45 games and posted its best finishes in the NCAA and SEC Tournaments in UK history.
What They Are Saying About UK Head Coach Gary Henderson
"No question that this program is going nowhere but up. Coach Henderson has played a huge part in so many players lives. He is one of the best recruiters in the country. I mean he found me all the way up in Saskatchewan, Canada. Not many guys make it from up there down here. He does a great job and I think his ability to form relationships with players and their families really just attracts people to this program and it should. He has that personality and is just a tremendous person. He's very intense, is a tremendous competitor and he's locked in at all times. Guys just want to be around him, he's a winner."
QUOTING UK GREAT ALEX MEYER
On Gary Henderson's influence on his career ...