Kentucky baseball head coach Gary Henderson – the 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year – will serve as an instructor for the inaugural USA Baseball 14-U National Team Development Program, it was announced.
Entering his fifth year as UK’s head coach and his 10th year with the program, Henderson will join a decorated coaching staff for the inaugural USA Baseball 14-U National Team Development Program (NTDP). The now annual program will offer the nation’s top 14-U athletes a week of training designed to better prepare them for future international competition.
The NTDP will feature skill development sessions, guest speakers and instructors, in addition to intrasquad games. Among the instructors include Henderson and Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay, and former Major League Baseball veterans Paul Shuey, J.D. Closser and James Baldwin. In addition, former New York Yankees general manger Bob Watson will join the instructing staff.
The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., will host the 14-U NTDP from Aug. 3-9.
Henderson, who signed a new five-year contract in July, was tabbed SEC Coach of the Year in 2012 after leading UK to a school-record 45-win season with its best finishes in the SEC and NCAA Tournament in program annals. UK finished third in the SEC and set a new program best by leading the circuit for eight of 10 weeks and winning seven of its conference series.
Henderson guided UK to its first No. 1 national ranking, finishing the year ranked for 14 consecutive weeks. After the season, a school-record nine players were picked in the MLB Draft, the second-most in the NCAA, and UK has sent an NCAA-leading nine players from its 2013 roster to the Cape Cod League or the USA Collegiate National Team.
Henderson has been at the core of the UK baseball surge onto the national scene since claiming the 2006 SEC Championship after a last-place finish in 2005. As the associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator from 2004-08, Henderson guided the UK pitching staff to some of its best seasons in school annals and annually brought in the top ranked recruiting classes in school history.
Henderson is the second Wildcat to join USA Baseball in the last year, as freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino – the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year – led the USA Collegiate National Team in hitting during the summer, winning a Bronze medal. Henderson is the second UK baseball head coach to join USA Baseball, as in 2005 former head coach John Cohen was an assistant for the USA Collegiate National Team. In 1996, Chad Green played for the USA in the Olympic Games and in 1999 John Wilson was on the USA Collegiate National Team. In addition, former UK stars Collin Cowgill and John Shelby participated in training with the USA Collegiate National Team.