Many athletes dream of being the best in their sport, but very few ever reach that hall of fame greatness at any level.
For FAMU baseball pitching coach Bryan Henry, that level of greatness was finally realized when he was inducted last month into the Tallahassee-Leon Babe Ruth Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
Per www.tallahasseebaberuth.org , the TLBR “is a non-profit organization which administers and promotes advanced play baseball for 13–15-year-olds in Leon County. It is affiliated nationally with the Babe Ruth League Inc., and is the largest youth baseball organization in the area.”
For Henry, it was an honor to be inducted with his classmates Sean Gilliam, Michael Hyde and Brett Richardson due to his personal relationships with some of the members.
“It’s cool because Michael Hyde and I are best friends — we grew up together, played at Florida State together, and now our sons are best friends,” Henry said. “Brett, who I coach with at FAMU now, and we’ve coached together before, is a great guy. I met Sean for the first time at the ceremony, but it was great being honored together.”
Henry was a star pitcher in high school and at FSU before getting drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 2007 ACC Pitcher of the Year is well deserving of of the Babe Ruth recognition, not only as a player but as a coach as well.
According to FAMU Athletics, in his first year as pitching coach, Henry helped direct the Rattlers to their lowest team ERA (4.71) in program history. The 4.71 team ERA ranked third in the MEAC. It marked the first time in school history FAMU had finished the season with a team ERA below 5.00. The pitching staff also combined to finish with the eighth most single-season strikeouts (284) since 2000, in just 48 games.
In an interview with Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU pitcher Jeremiah McCollum said, “Coach Henry has been everything to my career. I came here as an outfielder. He’s helped me a lot with my game and maturity as a player. I can’t wait until this next season to go and win a SWAC championship with him.”
Henry’s advice to kids trying to accomplish something similar is to always keep striving.
“Never give up,” Henry said. “Always keep trying. I wasn’t always where I wanted to be, but I worked every day, kept grinding, and never gave up. Who knows what can happen if you give it your all.”
He also never looked at the work he did for his goal as sacrifice, but opportunity.
“For me, I wasn’t sacrificing anything, I was just chasing my dream. It wasn’t a sacrifice at all, but more of an opportunity to get myself better.”
His success at the high school and collegiate levels mixed with his diverse experience at the professional level clearly gives Henry all of the credibility he needs for hall-of-fame status.