Canton native Charlie Henry is a top assistant basketball coach at the University of Alabama. PHOTO: University of Alabama
A lifelong student of the game of basketball (and a lights-out player back in the day, as well), Canton native Charlie Henry is proving his coaching prowess at the highest level of college hoops.
Henry, who was a basketball and academic star at now-closed Canton Agape Christian and set records during his four years as a 5-foot-9 guard at Madonna University, is a top assistant basketball coach at the University of Alabama, which was ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Division 1 rankings Jan. 16.
Henry’s ascension hasn’t been easy — nor did it come overnight.
His impressive coaching resume spans 10 years and includes successful stops at three levels: the National Basketball Association, the G League and the NCAA.
Henry’s coaching career has come full circle. He got his first opportunity when then-Romulus High School basketball coach Nate Oats hired him during the 2009-10 season.
Henry currently serves as an assistant on Oats’ staff at Alabama.
Sharp mind, great work ethic
“I’ve known Charlie for 10-plus years and gave him his first coaching job as my assistant coach at Romulus High School,” Oats said on the University of Alabama basketball website. “I’ve seen him climb the ladder. He works hard and has one of the sharpest minds around.
“I called him frequently while I was the coach at (the University of ) Buffalo to bounce ideas off him. He was an assistant coach in the NBA and head coach in the G League, so he has the knowledge of NBA concepts, but it’s also a big plus that was he in Division I at Iowa State for a few years so he has both sides.”
Despite his modest 5-foot-9 stature, Henry was a difference-maker on the court during his stay at Madonna as he led the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in three-point shooting percentage his sophomore season and was ninth in the conference in assists.
A tireless worker during his playing days, Henry’s main responsibility is ramping up the Crimson Tide’s defense, the school’s website noted. He helped Alabama morph into one of the nation’s top defensive teams in the country in his first year at the university when the team improved from 114th to No. 3 overall in defensive efficiency.
Henry spent two seasons (2017-19) as the head coach of the Windy City Bulls, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, before joining Oats in Tuscaloosa. During his final season, Henry led his team to a 27-23 (.540) overall record, earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time and its first winning record in the franchise’s three-season history.
“I am so thrilled to be coaching alongside Coach Oats at The University of Alabama,” Henry noted on his University of Alabama biography page. “I have seen first-hand his commitment to building a program, the passion he has for developing young men, the effort his teams play with and the admiration his players have for him. My wife Teisha and I are ecstatic to be a part of the University of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa community.”
Stint with NBA’s Bulls
Henry spent two seasons (2015-17) as an assistant for the Chicago Bulls, who were coached at the time by current University of Nebraska head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg. During his two years in the NBA, Henry’s responsibilities included player development, opponent game preparation and implementing offensive schemes.
Henry was also a member of Hoiberg’s coaching staff at Iowa State for three seasons.
Henry was a video intern for the Indiana Pacers during the 2011-12 season when the Pacers advanced to the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
He graduated from Madonna in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy study from Iowa State in 2014.
Henry and Teisha are the proud parents of a son, Nash, who was born in March of 2020.