The Packers have announced that Dan Henken of Cameron High School in Cameron, Wis., has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week.
Henken, in his first year as head coach of the Comets, began his transformation of a team that had not won a game since 2017. This October, the Comets snapped their 22-game losing streak with back-to-back wins against Saint Croix Falls and Chetek-Weyerhaeuser. Henken and the team hope to continue to build on the successes of this season and keep the program moving in the right direction.
"In my history, I've been fortunate enough to play and coach with a lot of coaches that are a lot more talented than me, and learn from them," said Henken. "For us, ultimately it was about being clear in terms of the expectations and then working hard to follow through on all of those. I think one positive in me taking this job in the spring was the willingness of the kids to be coachable. From our standpoint, that's the foundational piece, being willing to change if you want a different outcome. The kids have been able to do that, and they've been able to respond to all new coaches. I think it's less about what we've done as a staff and more about how they responded to everything. They took to it with great enthusiasm, and I think anytime you're changing a program around, obviously we started out somewhat rocky and that's expected; that's happened at almost every place I've been. If you're changing culture you don't usually hit the ground running. It takes some time and our kids responded to that really well."
Henken graduated from Waupun High School in Waupun, Wis., in 1997. Throughout high school, he participated in football and basketball. He played running back and defensive back under head coach Mike Schmidt. Following high school, Henken went on to play football at the University of Minnesota, UW-Eau Claire and Ripon College, where he graduated in 2002. After college, Henken was invited to work out for the Green Bay Packers under Packers alumnus and former scout Lenny McGill. He went on to play a year of indoor football for the Arena Football League's AF2 expansion team, the Green Bay Blizzard, in 2003. Henken's coaching career began in the Twin Cities area from 2011 until 2018, during which time he was an assistant coach for Tartan, Simley Senior and Cretin-Derham Hall High Schools. After taking a year away from coaching, Henken was named the head coach of the Comets this season.
Henken views the Coach of the Week award as a reflection of all that has been done by his staff, players and community to begin to turn the program around at Cameron.
"It's a tremendous honor. I've had all of my coaching experience in a large metropolitan area, and to see firsthand the amount of talented coaches not only in our conference but all of these small towns that get tremendous results not only on the field but in the classroom, it's honestly pretty humbling to be selected for an award like this. But it certainly speaks more for the community and the coaches that I have around me in addition to my family and their support. None of these things happen alone as just one individual, and we're a testament to that. We go through the years of struggles as a program that Cameron has had, and we've dug ourselves out of it as a group, as coaches and players."
Henken and his staff oversee a program of 41 players. His assistant staff includes Austin Bayer, Tim Hickey, Derrick Bender, Jordan Potvin, Ryan Mikula and Charlie Roherty. In addition to being the head coach, Henken is also an investment professional for Securian Financial in St. Paul, Minn. Henken and his wife, Megan, have one son, Archer, and one daughter, Haleigh.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Green Bay Packers Coach of the Week program supports football outreach efforts by giving high school coaches the recognition they deserve. Nominations can be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Packers football outreach specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All nominations should include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award. This year, because some schools have postponed their football seasons to the spring due to COVID-19, the Packers are seeking coaches to be nominated regardless of their teams' on-field performance or whether they are playing in the fall or spring. Rather, the nominee could be honored for how they have turned programs around, how the team has impacted the community, or how the coach impacts the players and their families.