Glen Henry

Athletics Staff; Physical Education Faculty

Coach Glen “Bullet” Henry, 75, of Cedar Falls, died Friday, February 27, 2015, at UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital, Waterloo, Iowa. He was born July 20, 1939, in Seminole, Oklahoma, the son of Arthur Beecher and Letha Oline (Siler) Henry. His early years were spent in Oklahoma. In 1949, the family moved to Wyoming, where he graduated from Newcastle High School in 1957. He met and married his high school sweetheart, Karen Nygaard. They moved to Chadron, Nebraska, where they attended college. Glen played football and basketball at Nebraska State College at Chadron and graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in Physical and Health Education and Life Sciences. In 1966 he continued his education at Nebraska State College, earning his Master of Science in Education and Administration with an emphasis in the Organization and Administration of Health, Physical Education, and Recreational Programs.

Until he retired in 2004, he served for thirty-eight years at the University of Northern Iowa in Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services. After graduating, he taught and coached for two years in Greybull, Wyoming, prior to moving to Cedar Falls in 1966, where he took a job as a football coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Glen Henry served as UNI’s first men’s swimming coach and remained the head coach through the 1981 season. He also took on the additional responsibility of women’s head coach his last year of coaching. He led the Panthers to ten men’s North Central Conference championships, with his swimmers earning 129 individual conference titles. Fifty-seven male athletes were national qualifiers and thirty-five earned All-American accolades. He earned Coach of the Year honors seven times. In addition, he served on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, was chair of the Collegiate All-American Swimmer Selection Committee, and was a state, district, and national swim clinician. He refereed and coordinated seventeen NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s National Swimming and Diving Championships from 1977-1995.

He was the author of The Certified Swimming Officials’ Case Book, and in 1995 founded the Intercollegiate Swim Officials Association. Henry received the UNI Alumni Achievement Award and served as President and Fund Drive Chair of the UNI Athletic Club. A swimming and diving scholarship endowment has been established in his name. Glen was inducted in the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002. UNI named its competitive pool in his honor. He retired from UNI in 2004. That July, he and his wife Karen, were injured in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He spent the last ten years doing motivational speaking and helping coach the UNI women’s swimming and diving team.

Glen was an entrepreneur, inventor, and owner of several businesses in the Cedar Valley area. He served as President of the Lions Club. He was also an entertainer, singing and playing guitar in his own band.

He was very involved in spinal cord injury research for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He always had a positive attitude that he maintained despite his injury. He fought and battled through the injury like a true champion to the end, the man, the coach, and the athlete that he was.

Survivors include his wife, Karen Henry of Cedar Falls; one son, Lance Henry, of Scottsdale, Arizona; two daughters, Lisa (Gregg) Holmes of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Lori (Bob) Donnelli of Scottsdale; a nephew, Glen C. (Sandy) Henry of Cedar Falls; three grandchildren, Taylor and Blake Donnelli, and Jackson Holmes; two brothers, Thomas (Connie) Henry of Stratton, Nebraska, and Vernon (Arlene) Henry of Casper, Wyoming; two sisters, Faye (Terry) Cole of Carlsbad, California, and Maggie (Bill) Riley of Rock Springs, Wyoming;  and several nieces and nephews.

Glen was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother, Arthur Beecher Henry Jr.

Services will be 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at Nazareth Lutheran Church, with burial in Fairview Cemetery, both in Cedar alls. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 2, at Dahl-Van Hove-Schoof Funeral Home, Cedar Falls. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the UNI Panther Athletic Club/Glen Henry Scholarship Fund. Condolences may be left at

Copyright Waterloo Courier on-line edition; downloaded March 2, 2015.

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