FC Alumnus returns as head football coach
By Haley Pritchett
Alan Hensell, the new head football coach, is excited to put his stamp on the Franklin College football program.
Hensell started his journey with Franklin College as a freshman in 2001. In late 2019, he returned.
Hensell is already on campus to get to know current football players as well as in the process of recruiting new ones.
He said that being the head coach of the Franklin College football team was always a dream of his.
At Franklin, Hensell studied K-12 physical education with a minor in health education. He played football and baseball until the fall season of 2002 when a knee injury ended his career as an athlete.
Hensell said that he knew once he got done playing he would get right into coaching.
He started his coaching career in college as a student assistant coach, first as a junior at Decatur Central High School, and then as a senior at Franklin College.
Previous head football coach Mike Leonard said that he could tell Hensell would have a good future.
“He was an eager young coach, who was just a sponge wanting to learn, and you could tell he was kind of a football junkie,” Leonard said.
To senior football player Logan Wynn, one of his favorite qualities about Hensell is how respectful he is to the team.
“If you want us to be respectful, you have to give it to us too, and he does a really good job at that,” Logan Wynn said.
Aside from athletics, Hensell said that the community means a lot to him.
“The college is very tight knit, but one of the things that makes this place special is the people,” Hensell said.
According to junior football player, Evan Stambaugh, as soon as the team learned the Hensell was the new coach they went straight to social media to learn more about him. He said that the fact he was a Franklin College alumnus gave confidence to a lot of the athletes.
“Since he is an alum, he knows that we have a solid foundation and I know he wants to build off of that,” Stambaugh said.
Junior football player Logan Wynn says that Hensell has already mentioned reaching out to the community, such as organizations such as the Humane Society, and making a difference off the field.
Since being at Franklin, freshman Ryus Moore says that Hensell has put in effort to get to know the athletes through one on one meetings as well as team meetings, and that he is also a friendly face on campus.
“We see him around campus a lot, we see him at basketball games and just walking to class, and eating at Saga,” Ryus Moore said. “He is always trying to catch up with us and see how we’re doing.”
Leonard said that Hensell has a nice resume because of all the different programs and different types of leaders he’s been around. He said this process has helped him learn how to coach in his own way.
Hensell previously coached at Buffalo, New York as a tight end coach. Before that, he coached at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Gardner-Webb University, University of Mississippi and University of Tennessee.
Hensell says that what makes a good football team is if the team reaches their potential, whatever that may be.
Ryus Moore said that he is interested to see Hensell’s coaching tactics.
“When you’re a new coach the most important thing is to get everybody to buy into your way of coaching,” Moore said.
Leonard said that he doesn’t just think Hensell is a good fit — but a great fit. When he heard that Hensell was the college’s choice, he was very excited.
“I have passion for the game. I care about my players on the field and off the field, and I think communication is really important, and organization,” Hensell said. “Those are things I take a lot of pride in and I want to do well here.”
When he’s not on the football field, Hensell still can be found somewhere on campus.
“Football is kind of my life. I love sports. You’ll see me at a lot of sporting events between basketball, baseball, and softball, you’ll see me very active on campus, not only at sporting events but anyways to help students and alums connect back to this place,” Hensell said.
Freshman Jack Moore says that he does not expect Hensell to do everything the same as former head coach Mike Leonard.
“As a coach you don’t want to copy,” Jack Moore said. “You want to be yourself and make your own legacy, and I think he’ll do a great job at that.”
Leonard said he had a blast coaching, but he knew it was time for someone new to come in who was eager, passionate and ready to have some fun.
“I think the future is bright under his leadership,” Leonard said.