Local Nationally-Revered Sports Official To Be Honored By ITFCC Hall Of Fame

Cecilia and Larry Henning

A retired Carroll Elementary School teacher, current volunteer Carroll track and field coach and Flora Lions Club member will be inducted into the Indiana Track & Field & Cross Country Hall of Fame tomorrow, June 22 in Terre Haute.

Larry Henning, an active Flora community member, is set to be inducted into the Indiana Track & Field & Cross Country Hall of Fame tomorrow, June 22 in Terre Haute as a contributor due to his officiating career, which involves college, state and Olympic officiating accolades.

Henning served as an umpire at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, which he stated was the highlight of his officiating career. He also worked eight Olympic trials, 30 indoor and outdoor national championships, numerous Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 college meets and the NAIA National Championship. Henning’s career continues to blossom every year as he has worked the state meet for around 30 years, beginning as a timer before being appointed as the Head Umpire for the State Championships, which is a role he has served for 14 years.

Henning commented that his passion for track and field led toward his extensive career in officiating, but networking allowed for his career to take flight as he headed toward his dream of serving as an umpire at the Olympics.

“I love track,” Henning said. “I worked the old Bomber-Boiler Relays, and I talked to a couple people who were officials, and they got me started. I lucked out. This was about 1986, and the ’88 Olympic Trials were in Indianapolis, so it was the right place at the right time.”

Henning stated that being selected to officiate at the 1988 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis opened the doors for him to continue his career, and the experiences of the Olympics was surreal.

“I got picked to be a local official from Indianapolis, so I worked the trials, met some people, they liked what they saw and I’ve been working ever since,” Henning said. “Being on the track those days and the events going on, it was just unreal.”

Henning became well known by the other officials during the 1996 Olympics as he would maintain an initial call that sparked controversy before the recordings of the race were reviewed, proving his call valid and awarding him accolades among the other officials.

“On the 4×100 relay, Canada looked like they were out of the zone, but I didn’t think they were, so I didn’t call it, and when they replayed it, I was right, they weren’t,” Henning said. “Among the officials, I got the best no-call of the Olympics because Canada ended up winning the gold medal.”

Henning commented that while his career is extensive, he did not expect the opportunity to be awarded to him for induction into the Hall of Fame as the Hall of Fame typically inducts high school coaches and athletes while he was an official. However, he expressed that the opportunity to be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside those who taught him the intricacies of the career is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity.

“Basically, this is for high school coaches and athletes,” Henning said. “There have been a few officials, but what makes this really great for me is that almost all of the officials are starters. There’s only two others that are not starters, and those two are my mentors. To be put in and be with my mentors, that’s what I feel really good about.”

Henning maintains his humility while serving the community of Flora, such as aiding in the organization of the Flora Hog Jog that most recently kicked off on Saturday, June 15 as a member of the Flora Lions Club.

“I’m kind of in charge of making sure the course is painted and all the tomes and signs are out, and then I help at the finish line,” Henning said. “When the Lions Club took it over, that’s kind of what I got put in charge of.”

Henning also maintains his coaching career within Carroll High School where he serves as a volunteer coach for the track and field teams, and he looks forward to the teams’ continued successes in the next season.

“We’re coming off a really good track season,” Henning said. “Both the boys and girls won the Hoosier Conference, which has Clinton Prairie, Clinton Central and Rossville in it. Both boys and girls won that, so we’re very pleased with that.”

For more information about the Indiana Track & Field & Cross Country Hall of Fame in Terre Haute, visit indianatrackcchof.com.