June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Celebration of life for legendary Irvine football coach Terry Henigan Feb. 24

Coach Terry Henigan with his sons Michael (left) and Mark. (Photo courtesy Henigan family).

A celebration of life for former Irvine High School football coach Terry Henigan, who impacted the lives of so many players, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24 in the school’s game gymnasium.

An informal gathering will be held at 1:30 p.m. followed by the formal remembrance at 2:30 p.m., according to one of Henigan’s sons, Mark. There will be informal attire for the event.

Since Coach Henigan’s death on Dec. 20, 2023, the family has received numerous comments of support, Mark Henigan said.

Coach Henigan’s sons Michael and Mark Henigan issued a statement Thursday to OC Sports Zone:

“Our father’s passing has left a huge void but the outpouring of stories and tributes to date has been amazing. Most knew him as ‘coach’ where his commitment, dedication and passion for his players and those around him positively impacted so many and has left a legacy that will continue through generations. But he was so much more than that.

“He was a loving husband of 57 years, an amazing father who provided such a wonderful model to us of how to be good husbands, fathers and citizens, and a devoted grandfather who loved nothing more than attending his grandchildren’s events and keeping up with their active lives. We are looking forward to having the opportunity to bring together so many family members, players, coaches and friends that he impacted in such a positive and significant way during his wonderful life.”

Players have also reacted to the death of Coach Henigan, who retired after the 2009 season after a 29-year run at the school. He had a 192-126-6 record at Irvine and led the Vaqueros to CIF titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2000. The Vaqueros also had six league titles in that span and went to the CIF finals five times.

“Coach Henigan was a true mentor who preached hard work, accountability and dedication to the team,” said George Koutures, who played at Irvine from 1985 to 1988. “Those of us that were fortunate enough to play for him have carried his life lessons forward and consider him to be ultimate role model.”  

“I played for Coach Henigan at Irvine High in 1991 and 1992; he was one of the greatest men I have ever known,” added former player Chris Waite.

Waite referred to a quote from former Dallas Coach Tom Landry: ‘A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.’ That is exactly who my coach was . . . I’m an Irvine Vaquero and proud of it.”

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com