Crowder Public Schools has hired Casey Henry to be the next head baseball coach of the Demons.
Superintendent Robert Florenzano confirmed Henry was hired at Monday night's school board meeting after receiving 19 applicants for the position and interviewing eight people.
Florenzano said the hiring criteria was what fit for Crowder's school system and narrowed it down to three final candidates. The superintendent said it was a tough decision, but believes in Henry as a coach.
"I think he'll bring the energy that we need for our program," Florenzano said.
Henry will be replacing Larry Tucker, who submitted his resignation in April. Tucker began at Crowder in the fall 2005.
Tucker guided the Demons to two state tournament appearances in spring 2015 and spring 2016, reaching the state semifinals in the latter year.
"I got tremendous respect for Larry," Henry said. "I think Larry's done an outstanding job here, and I've got to coach against him a number of times. He's a really good coach."
Henry is hoping to continue the tradition that Tucker built with the Demons. This is his first head coaching job.
The 2010 Vanoss graduate played every position except catcher for the Wolves. He went on to pitch at Carl Albert State College before getting into coaching.
He returned to his alma mater as an assistant in fall 2014 after graduating from East Central University. Henry remained with the Wolves until spring 2016, when they went to the state tournament for the first time since finishing as the Class A state runner-up in 1984.
Henry coached for Broken Bow in spring 2017 and made his way to Rock Creek that fall, serving there until this past season, when the Mustangs went 17-12 and made it to the regional tournament.
Henry wanted to outline his goals and his expectations for the program during a meet-and-greet with players and parents Wednesday.
"I want to focus on day-to-day goals," he said. "You don't want to look too far ahead as a coach or a player and you don't want to look back.
"We really want to focus on winning today, winning the pitch and winning the inning," he continued. "That's something that's easy to say, but not easy to do."
Henry is hoping to achieve success beyond the baseball field. He wants his players to go on to become great fathers and great influences on their children, and to become successful in life.
He believes if his players take care of business in the classroom and in their personal lives, they will do do the same on the baseball field.
Henry hopes to get to the state tournament with Crowder each season, but his first goal is to win a district championship this fall, which he said won't be easy to do.
"We're going to get after it, and I'm looking real forward to it," he said.