Patrick McHenry faced a tough decision about the next phase of his life.
McHenry had been a teacher for 32 years and spent the past 13 seasons as the strength and conditioning coach at Castle View High School in Castle Rock.
However, he has left Castle View to become the strength coach of the Air Force Special Warfare Human Support Group in San Antonio, Texas.
“I looked at this a long time ago and I talked to my wife after teaching for 32 years. I said: `What about trying something different?,’” he said. “It is really interesting after 32 years to try something new. It’s going to be exciting.
“Leaving teaching was tremendously difficult. For 32 years I’ve been a teacher, that’s my career. I’ve done so many different things. Everything I focused in on was at the high school level. When I started looking at what else can I do, just because you are retired you can’t sit around and do nothing.”
But how different will it be for the 54-year-old McHenry from coaching high school athletes compared to military personnel?
McHenry said it would be different, yet also the same.
“It’s going to be a lot different,’ said McHenry. “The high school kids are fun, they are excited. The people that I am going to work with, the military men and women, this is their job. It’s a different level, not just of commitment.
“The new group I’m going to be working with you either make it and continue on with the military or you don’t and have a different job in the military. So there is going to be a lot more pressure on the people that I am working with. That’s a big difference. Once they pass the course, it kind of opens the door for them to get to the next level.”
However, the training is similar.
“In a way it is very similar to high school in this job because the first thing you focus on is the movement pattern,” continued McHenry. “Now that I think about it, it is extremely similar in what I am going to be doing.”
The Human Performance Support Group is a one-of-a-kind unit that will integrate specialists from a variety of sports and medical fields into special warfare training to optimize physical and mental performance and speed rehabilitation to create more capable and resilient ground operators.
“First of all we have to make sure they move well,” said McHenry. “The better they move the less likely they are to get injured. Then the strength they need, what is the job they are going to be doing? A baseball player’s strength is going to be different than a wrestler’s and football player’s strength. So that’s similar. Not everybody has the same job.”
McHenry will not forget the time he spent at Castle View as he recalled the names of some of the better Sabercats athletes he worked with.
A few of the recent athletes he mentioned included wrestlers Malik Heinselman and Tate Samuelson, lacrosse players Max, Nick and Jack Tuttle, softball player Savannah Heebner and football player Cole Oster.
“For 13 years I was at the same school and that’s kind of an honor and privilege to be at the same school and work with such a great staff,” he said. “I hope they know that.
“There’s so many athletes, it is kind of hard to name them all. Castle View has turned out not just scholars but athletes and scholars.”
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