Tuttle Public Schools held the ribbon cutting for the Greg Henning Activity Center at Tuttle High School Friday, welcoming Coach Henning and his family out to tour the facility that is adjoined to the Tuttle High School basketball gym.
The facility includes new locker rooms for both boys and girls, a new lobby that will include a concessions area, as well as an auxiliary practice gym.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Mary Smith, representing the City of Tuttle, also read a proclamation dedicating Friday, July 22, 2022 “Greg Henning Day.” Tuttle Public Schools moved into the new high school in 2017, and has added a lot since, including band and choir rooms, classrooms, a counselor suite, an extension of the wrestling room, much more, and most recently, the Greg Henning Activity Center.
Tuttle High School Principal Matt Surber, who led the Tigers to 12 straight state wrestling titles, welcomed the crowd at the gym, introducing them to Coach Henning. Several of Henning’s former wrestlers were in attendance, including several state champions, and even its very first state champion, Trent London.
Henning wrestled at the University of Oklahoma, and after graduating, was an assistant at UCO for a year. The next year, Coach Henning took over at Sallisaw where he stayed for three seasons to coach multiple state champions. After that, he went to Stilwell and had a few state champions while he was there, including an Outstanding Wrestler at the State Championship.
Henning’s mother graduated from Tuttle, and his father was from Newcastle. In an effort to get back to the Tri-City area, where his grandpa had grown okra, he took a job at Tuttle High School. Tuttle Wrestling, in its inaugural 1984-1985 season, won zero duals. A year later, under Henning, the team had no state qualifiers.
“Mind you, he had come from so much success,” Coach Surber said, “and then we didn’t have anybody at the state tournament. The next year, things started to fall in place.”
During the 1986-1987 season, Tuttle’s junior high won JH State, which includes all classes, and is a solid barometer to this day to determine the quality of a varsity program’s future. That season, the team also had four state qualifiers, its first two state placers, and had an All-State wrestler.
“While Coach Henning was here, he won five state titles, six dual state titles, five state runners-up, three dual state runners-up, eight academic state championships, and, more impressive, he had 15 athletes that were All-Americans in college. At Tuttle, he had 37 state champions and 87 state placers.”
Henning came out of retirement recently to serve as an assistant with the Tuttle wrestling team.
“He was great with the kids,” Principal Surber said. “He had a big influence. One of his influences was Chad Richison, and through his support, as well as the support of a lot of others, made this facility possible. He has a lot of accolades, but he’s been instrumental and influential in the mindset and development of the people who wrestled for him, and he’s also a great friend and advocate of wrestling.”
Coach Henning said to the crowd after Surber’s introduction, “Well, I’m a little bit overwhelmed. I’m honored, humbled, and almost lost for words. Most of you already know that 112 times somebody from Tuttle has had their arm raised at the state championship. Perry’s first with 180, but they had a 63-year head start. They started in 1922 and we started in 1985. We had some pioneer families back then, and they were families that worked hard. They worked hard at tournaments, and they worked hard to promote wrestling.”