Michael HenshawSeptember 8, 1943 ~ August 31, 2017 (age 73)
Michael Henshaw was the oldest child of V. Thomas Henshaw and Elizabeth Isobel Henshaw. He was born on September 8, 1943 in London, England, under the still ongoing air raids. Michael was an entrepreneur from the beginning as he started his career in London. He had a natural talent to train, teach and motivate others around him. His sales training skills were recognized at companies like Xerox and Roboserv. Michael even challenged young salesmen with an exercise to call Buckingham Palace, going through the many levels of royal bureaucracy until they reached the Secretary of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinbugh! Michael’s ability to create management training courses for companies allowed him to train top company executives while taking them to exotic destinations including Mallorca. He then created Henshaw Associates, his own executive search firm in the early 1970s in Manchester, UK.
With his entrepreneurial spirit and drive, he was always seeking new challenges. He left the UK and arrived in Houston, Texas in 1979 and continued work in the Executive Search space. Always seeing an opportunity to play soccer, he joined the Continentals and played for several years. Ultimately, importing products from the UK became his focus. He successfully developed a network of distributorships across the country including the first magnetic pulse machine designed to provide healing for horses. His charisma, energy and ability to communicate was exceptional.
And then there is soccer. As a young boy, Michael trained with the Arsenal development program aspiring to join the club when his family was uprooted to Pakistan. Michael never gave up his love for the game. During the 1970s in England, he played semi-pro soccer and was always kicking great crosses and heading and scoring goals throughout his career. His success was regularly documented in newspaper articles and photographs. Headlines like “Thringstone Newcomer Nets three in cup-tie” or “Henshaw’s Goal A Joy to Behold”. He entertained the crowds and brought excitement to the field. This sport was at the core of Michael and his love, passion and relentless pursuit of excellence was shown in his dedication to this sport and to every player (young and old) who ever stepped onto the pitch for Coach Henshaw. Alongside his lifelong love for Arsenal, Michael was the head coach of Rice’s men’s soccer team from 1981 – 2003, leading the famous Lads to many successes on the field, where they were perennial conference powerhouses, including a run to the National Club Championship [Finals] in 1990. Adored by his players, Michael was a strong and witty leader whose pre-game motivational speeches were the stuff of legend. He was absolutely committed to the Lads, mixing in life advice with his coaching wisdom and touching the lives of his players in lasting ways. An impressive number of his former players remained close with Coach Mike, and many would look forward to a pint at the pub with him, sure to leave with a smile after listening to Mike hold court. Coach Mike will be long and fondly remembered as a legendary figure by the Lads who were lucky enough to play for and know him. As he always said, the game is about putting the ball in the back of the net and playing with character.
To the countless kids whom he coached through his Mike Henshaw Soccer Camps from 1993-2016, thank you for trusting your children with Michael. His love for the game and his love for coaching the youth was the highlight of his soccer career. As Director of Training for Westbury, he also spent his most recent years as soccer coach for the Westbury Soccer Club and the Meyerland Soccer Club.
He coined the term "Zer-Zer”. Ask the young and older soccer players alike and you will hear a myriad of definitions including this one: “Zer-Zer: It’s passion, self-confidence or a special quality that propels one forward to find success on and off the field”!
He dedicated the past 16 years of his life (2001 – 2017) working at Rice University as an adjunct faculty member teaching soccer for the Lifetime Physical Activity Program at the Gibbs Recreation Center. And it should come as no surprise, his teaching evaluations were always “over the top” positive and the continuous theme was “great coach and teacher”.
Michael was also a charter member of The Houstonian. He was a familiar figure running daily from The Houstonian to Memorial Park, running six miles at the park, and then back to The Houstonian. In fact, until his diagnosis, he could be spotted riding his bike around town racking up 15-20 miles a day.
This loving partner and best friend, father, grandfather, brother, uncle is survived by his son Patrick Henshaw, daughter-in-law Marie-Christel Henshaw, and grandson Jean Justin Henshaw; brother Gerald Thomas Henshaw, sister-in-law Marsha Henshaw, nephew Thomas Henshaw; long-time companion and partner Diane Vroulis; stepson John-Paul Vroulis and his wife Christina; stepson Nicholas Alexander Vroulis and his wife Jiselle; and many other nieces and nephews in the US and the UK. Michael is preceded in death by his parents, V. Thomas Henshaw and Elizabeth Isobel Henshaw.
Thank you to dear family friends: Robert Flynn, Gary Earlstedt, George and Elaine Bournias, Roger and Anna Baden-Powell, Howard and Valerie Stanforth, Klaus and Fatma Thoma, Paul and Wanita Loupakos, Basile and Debbie Funti.
Special thank you Meagan Wren who helped with Michael’s care and showered him with patience and great strength.
Rice Lads: You know how much you meant to Michael. You all were such a huge part of his life. Thank you for allowing him to be a part of the team. He truly enjoyed coaching but also delighted in seeing you all “grow up” and become the wonderful men you are today. Just inviting him to be a part of your lives brought him great joy.
Above all, he loved his dear son Patrick and his grandson Jean Justin. Thirteen years ago he became a proud grandfather. Visiting Patrick, Marie Christel and Jean Justin in Paris was the highlight of every year. He dearly loved Jean Justin who gave him great joy! With Patrick, they played golf in France and Spain always competing and enjoying the challenge.
A par on the Road Hole at St.Andrews was an unforgettable experience in his many years of golf around the world. Special times with his beloved son never to be forgotten.
The Memorial Service will be held Wednesday, September 5,
2017 at Christ Church Cathedral at 1 pm on Wenesday, September 5, 2017.
In lieu of flowers, Michael would love any support to go towards Rice Lads Soccer.