Player pays tribute to his coach

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Fond memories: From left are Fortenberry and Coach Henley. Submitted | Picayune Item

Fond memories: From left are Hollis Fortenberry and Coach Henley.
Submitted | Picayune Item

Hollis Fortenberry carries fond memories and deep respect for his former football coach at George Washington Carver High School in Picayune. Fortenberry is a member of the graduating class of 1968.

Today, all that remains of the high school and his coach are cherished memories. The high school closed in 1970 and Coach Marion Lorenzo Henley passed away in 2013.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As we approach the end of 2014’s Black History Month, Fortenberry wanted to pay tribute to the coach and school who shaped the man he has become.

“Coach Henley was one of a kind,” Fortenberry said. “During his tenure at Carver, his teams won 64 consecutive games. As far as I know, that record stood until 2007.

Henley’s winning record is even more remarkable considering he had no assistant coaches for the program. He was inducted into the Mississippi Hall of Fame in 1993.

Fortenberry said his coach was a source of inspiration for both his players and the community

“He taught us to be accountable, not only as football players, but as men. He taught us that we were able to control our own destiny, in charge of making good choices for ourselves and to never give up on our journey through life,” Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry describes his coach as a humanitarian, counselor, community activist, teacher, father and husband.

Fortenberry wrote a poem as a tribute to his late coach titled “Henley football life” which reads:

“…  He was a man of wisdom and character who demanded respect. You and I haven’t seen another man like him yet … He took the game of football and became a legendary success. Carver athletes coached by him were truly blessed.”

Fortenberry said he is honored to have worn Carver’s red and blue colors and to have played under Henley.

“I have never seen another coach who could instill the high level of confidence in his players. He was truly one of a kind,” Fortenberry said.