Jason Henry's attraction to the Minot State University men's basketball coaching position is threefold.
He's excited about the Beavers' move to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. He's also intrigued by recruiting opportunities he doesn't have as the head coach at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
But most importantly, it's a chance for the 38-year-old Minot native to come home.
Minot native Jason Henry, currently the men’s basketball coach at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, interviewed for the same position at Minot State University on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Brad Blume, South Dakota Mines sports information.
"Having a lot of family back here and having a lot of special people, it's a great opportunity for me to get back to those people," said Henry, who played basketball at MSU and graduated in 1997. "In coaching you kind of jump around a lot, you meet a lot of great people and fun people to be around, but it still comes back to the Minot people. Minot people are very special to me."
Henry has been the head coach at S.D. Mines since 2005 and is the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in school history. The Hardrockers, who are entering year three of a four-year transition to NCAA Division II, finished 16-14 last season and beat MSU two out of three times.
At the Rapid City school, Henry is limited to recruiting athletes who are proficient in math and science. During his tenure, Henry's players have had an average ACT composite score of 27. The MSU student body averages a 22, according to Department of Education tuition and enrollment figures from 2010-2011.
"I don't want kids that are borderline ... but it's sure gonna be nice when I can recruit a kid with a 21 or 22 ACT, which for some of us that's pretty good," Henry said. "I'll take that any day of the week, but (at S.D. Mines) that wasn't good enough."
Henry said he likes to run a motion offense with four guards and one post player. On the defensive end, his teams play mostly man-to-man and apply various forms of full-court pressure to opposing teams' guards.
"A big part of our program is the defensive end," Henry said. "Some nights the ball just does not go in the hole. ... You can always count on the defense being there."
Henry is married to fellow Minot native Anne Ryan and they have two daughters - Gretchen, 5, and Enna, 4.
One reason Henry took the job at S.D. Mines, he said, was the Hardrockers and Beavers both played in the Dakota Athletic Conference. When the teams met in Minot each year, Henry had an excuse to travel back to his hometown.
Now he's in contention for a job at his alma matter, which he said is "the only job" he'd apply for at this stage in the summer.
"I don't go to Duke's roster, I don't go to Kentucky and see how they're doing," Henry said. "I look at the Minot State stuff. I don't do that with any other school."
Jamestown coach Matt Murken interviews at MSU today and Montana State University-Northern coach Shawn Huse will visit campus Friday.