Mary Henwood didn’t think anything of it when legendary Irvington girls basketball coach Gina Maher gave her a call that night in June.
“I just thought she was calling to say, ‘Hi,’ and check-in,” Henwood said. “It was such a great phone call just to first hear Gina Maher’s voice — I love the woman. She’s wonderful, and just been a dear friend and mentor — and then just to hear that news was just over the top.”
Maher called to inform Henwood, a former girls basketball standout at Eastchester and longtime coach of both girls basketball and lacrosse at Rye, that she would be among the inductees into the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 22.
Henwood scored more than 1,000 points in high school and college at Hofstra before winning over 500 games between the two sports as a coach, but she said she’s spent parts of the past three months shaking her head in disbelief of the honor.
“There’s been other Rye recipients, people that have been mentors to me — Lou Gallo and Bernie Miller are in there, and Dino Garr — and I look up at that list in our gymnasium and I always saw it in the gym when I was coaching and respected them so much,” said Henwood, who retired in 2012. “I was always so proud to look up at those walls, never, ever thinking that my name would be up there.”
Henwood gets her coaching fix these days with the modified girls lacrosse program at Rye, but said she is happily retired from the varsity sidelines and plans to stay that way.
“(Basketball) was so intimate and confined, and that rush you get before a game as a coach and that tightness and intimacy of 5-versus-5 and the fans right there on you — I miss that,” she said. “I could still feel it in the stadium at Rye — I love that stadium, I love coaching there — there’s those nights that I can remember the moon over the flag and the national anthem and all that good stuff going on.”