The hours leading up to the debut of the Henigan Era

Dave Henigan will make his Ryan head coaching debut tonight against Rockwall. Henigan, who was previously at Corsicana and Grapevine, replaces Joey Florence, who was Ryan's head coach for the last 14 seasons.

Dave Henigan’s never been one for superstition, but there’s one thing he does the morning of a football game.

He’ll wake up and drop his three boys — Seth, Ian and Quin — off at school, cherishing the little time he gets to spend with his family during the season. He’ll arrive at the field house to watch film, possibly pick up the newspaper and mull around the field house the rest of the morning.

Even when Henigan was the quarterback at the University of the Pacific, there weren’t any pregame rituals. And there’s a strong chance Henigan will be on a full night’s rest coming into tonight’s game against Rockwall, his first as Ryan’s head coach.

“The night before the game, generally I sleep pretty well,” Henigan said. “It’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I don’t sleep really well. As the game plan is being formulated and the decisions are being made is when I’m tossing and turning all night long.”

Tonight will be the first time since 1999 that Joey Florence will not be on the Ryan sideline. Florence led Ryan for 14 seasons — all playoff seasons — before becoming Denton ISD’s athletic director earlier this year.

Henigan still remembers Florence’s gameday routine from Henigan’s days as Ryan’s offensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003. Florence gathered his coaches and took them to lunch at the Prairie House Restaurant in Cross Roads, where they sat at the same table and he ordered the sliced beef sandwich for 14 straight years.

Henigan said he’ll take offensive coordinator Conroy Hines and defensive coordinator Shane Tolleson out to lunch, but the weekly lunchtime plans won’t be as rigid.

“I don’t know if we’ll go to the same restaurant, eat at the same table and order the same thing,” Henigan said.

He remembers the first games he had at Corsicana and Grapevine, his previous two stops as a head coach. At Corsicana, the team’s buses were caught in traffic after a wreck shutdown Interstate 20. The Tigers didn’t show up to the stadium until they were supposed to be warming up.

In Henigan’s debut at Grapevine, his team took the field trying to end a 16-game losing streak. The Mustangs fumbled the opening kickoff against Flower Mound Marcus in a game that ended up being a rout. The two teams met in the postseason and it was much closer, but Marcus still won.

Before his team leaves for C.H. Collins Athletic Complex for tonight’s game at 7 p.m., he might call a few of his coaching friends and wish them luck before their games. Even though Henigan will be leading a young team onto the field tonight, he knows what will be expected of him and his team against Rockwall and in the weeks to come.

“Here, I think the expectations here are to have success, period,” Henigan said. “Success is winning. Our kids expect to win.”


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