Join us to learn about building relationships within your community. Kevin Henry, the Director of Community Relations with the University of Oklahoma will help us understand how relationships play a major role when working within a community, how to use the resources within your organization to help other organizations, and how to coordinate and plan events that can help multiple organizations at the same time.
Kevin Henry Bio
Kevin Henry has spent the last 13 years serving his community. Since his days as a college basketball player at both, the University of New Mexico and Baylor University, he always looked for ways to give back.
In 2002, Kevin started the Henry Hoops Basketball Program to teach kids basketball through camps, clinics and private lessons. That program grew to over 500 kids in 3 years and Kevin, with advice from parents of participants, thought there has to be a way to help even more kids. In 2005, Kevin and a few, vested parents formed a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Game Plan for Life, Inc. where the program tripled in size and was able to serve even a broader demographic. The program had four guiding principles: discipline, education, community service and basketball. Players were required to keep a certain grade point average, they were also required to do a certain number of community service hours each year. “We were able to help boys and girls achieve many things they never dreamed of achieving.” says Henry. “The kids were able to set goals, attain them, and set new ones. We provided the support, they provided the hard work!”
After 3 years of operating in multiple locations and not have a true “headquarters,” Henry decided it was time for the program to take the next step. After much thought, Henry signed the lease on 6000 square feet of warehouse space and named it The Hoop Station. In 2008, The Hoop Station was formed and the first basketball training facility of its kind was opened in Central Texas.
As he is no stranger to hard work, all this time, Kevin was gainfully employed by the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas as their first Athletic Director recent history. MCH as it is referred to by locals is one of the oldest child care facilities in the country, dating its roots back to 1890. The Home houses approximately 150 at-risk youth from Texas and New Mexico. Residents come from many different backgrounds and have many different reasons why they may come to MCH, but one thing is for sure, they will be cared for by people that care about their well-being. “I loved my time at MCH. I was fortunate enough to work at a place that shared the same passion for young people as I did. The kids and staff at MCH will always hold a special place in my heart.”
In 2013, Henry’s wife, the former Aiyana Nash, after completing her Doctorate in Education from Baylor, accepted a teaching position at the University of Oklahoma. The couple has two elementary age children. In an effort to not disrupt the family and the kids’ educational experience, the family decided that it would be best for Dr. Henry to move to Norman and Kevin and the kids to stay in Waco. Every weekend, but one, Aiyana would drive the 240 miles from Norman to Waco to visit the family and see the kids’ sporting events. While it was only about a 4 hour drive, it does wear on you. The following year, after Aiyana would speak of her enjoyment of her job at the university, the people of Norman, and everything BOOMER SOONER, the family made another critical decision. The kids would join Mom in Norman for the 2014 school year. This time, roles reversed, as Kevin was the “commuter” as he would drive the 4 hour trip to see the family and watch the sporting events on weekends. “This was tough because of the hours that I would be required to drive.” Henry remembers, “I would leave Waco after our high school football game at MCH at midnight, arrive in Norman at 4am and by 6:30am, the kids would be waking me up to start our Saturday morning! Which usually began at the soccer or flag football field, followed by a trip to the donut store!”
Like his wife, Henry did this every weekend for the entire year. “We had to make a decision for the following year. Either everyone was moving back to Waco or I was moving to Norman.” After discussing it as a family, the decision was unanimous. “It was a tough decision, but one of the best decisions I have ever made.” Henry recalls. In August of this year, Henry was named Director of Community Relations for the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department. “This has been truly a blessing. I get to continue my work with my community, albeit a new community, and my family is all under one roof for the first time in over 2 years.”
As Director of Community Relations, Henry works with schools and groups to promote the OU brand. He has been diligent about adopt-a-school programs with the Oklahoma sports teams and the local, public schools in the Norman area and has assisted with request that come from Sooner fans from all across the great state of Oklahoma. “I truly enjoy every aspect of my role here at OU. I look forward to coming to work each day.”
In addition to his community relations work, Henry is also the color analyst for the OU men’s basketball team’s radio broadcast.