Bruce Hensley, who in a few months starts his 28th boys basketball season at Greenwood Community High School, ranks among the longest-tenured of the current Mid-State Conference head coaches.
Now factor in that Hensley was a three-sport standout for the Woodmen in the early 1970s, and it’s a relatively safe bet no one has experienced as many of the league’s locker rooms as him.
Hensley played football, basketball and baseball at Greenwood at a time when Danville, Center Grove and Speedway were part of the regular-season schedule.
By the time he took over boys hoops at his alma mater in 1989, two had exited. However, there were new faces, gymnasiums and competition with Avon, Beech Grove and Franklin.
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Now two of those are gone.
In all, Hensley has either competed or coached against 12 of the 14 high schools that have been a member of the Mid-State Conference since its formation in November 1942.
Original members Brownsburg (1942-67) and Lawrence Central (1942-49) were before his time.
“Proximity-wise, the schools in the Mid-State have been relatively close,” Hensley said. “Mostly it’s just always been a very competitive conference with a lot of parity. It’s a very, very competitive conference.”
As a Woodmen athlete, Hensley was a sophomore when Greenwood captured the 1971 conference title in basketball. He’s so far guided the program to a share of the Mid-State championship twice (1993-94 and 2000-01) and outright supremacy in 2005-06.
“The rivalries have always existed. We still play each other, and those are still important games to all the teams,” Hensley said. “Amongst ourselves, we understand how good the conference is.”