Muskogee Public Schools Superintendent Mike Garde confirmed Monday that Muskogee High School football coach Matt Hennesy has been relieved of his coaching duties.
“We felt a change in direction was needed,” Garde said.
Hennesy was hired as defensive coordinator under Ron Lancaster and made head coach after Lancaster’s temporary retirement after the 2005 season.
Shortly after his team’s 56-7 playoff exit Friday night against Tulsa Union, Hennesy said he was looking forward to an off-season with a majority of his team returning in 2011.
Hennesy said in a text message Monday night that he “really didn’t have anything to say right now.”
MHS athletic directory Bobby Jefferson said he informed Hennesy of the decision Monday afternoon at the head coach’s office at the Indian Bowl complex.
Jefferson said the conversation and reason given for the change was along the line of Garde’s comment to the matter.
“Basically that was it, and outside of that, being that it is a personnel decision, I can’t really discuss the matter,” Jefferson said. “You know, there’s nobody that enjoys this part of a job. The desire is to go in a different direction and outside of any specifics, I wish Matt the best.”
It didn’t seem Hennesy expected it Friday night after a fourth team scored 50 or more points against a squad that started the year with five seniors in the lineup as starters but was riddled by injuries — 22 in all.
“Knowing I’m going to look out and see nearly all the kids we’ve got here tonight, I’m ready to get after it,” said Hennesy as his team left the field for the final time.
The first of the three blowouts, a 70-13 loss to Broken Arrow, represented the most points against a Muskogee team since an 83-0 loss to Oklahoma Military Academy in 1916.
Hennesy was hired by Lancaster when the latter became head coach in 2003. Both were finalists for the job. Hennesy served as Lancaster’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
When Lancaster retired briefly after taking the Roughers to the state semifinals in 2005, Hennesy was named his successor and his first team went 10-3, beating nemesis Union twice and making it to a second semifinal and a loss to eventual champion Jenks. In 2007, Hennesy took the Roughers to their third consecutive semifinal, losing to Union at Doc Wadley Stadium in Tahlequah.
The 2008 team lost in the first round of the playoffs to Stillwater and then last year’s team went 3-6, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Hennesy ends his MHS career with a 34-23 record.
Jefferson said the dismissal pertains to coaching stipend only. Due to budget restrictions, Hennesy was moved into the classroom to teach three classes this semester, one of but a few among 6A head coaches required to do that.
Record at Muskogee
2010 — 5-6, lost in first round to Union
2009 — 3-6, missed playoffs
2008 — 7-4, lost in first round to Stillwater
2007 — 9-4, lost to Union in semis
2006 — 10-3, lost to Jenks in semis