Charlie Henry may be small in stature, but he's climbed the basketball ladder quickly. The 32-year-old Michigan native is moving from the Bulls bench to become head coach of the developmental league's Windy City Bulls.
He's basically swapping spots with last year's Windy City coach Nate Loenser, who is returning to Fred Hoiberg's staff. The Windy City Bulls finished 23-27 in their inaugural season and return to the court Year 2 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Nov. 4.
Henry got the coaching bug early since his father Chuck was a successful high school coach at Wayne Memorial High School in suburban Detroit. Charlie played at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, and still ranks No. 4 among the school's all-time leaders in both assists and 3-pointers made.
After college, he became a graduate assistant at the University of Utah, where current Bulls lead assistant Jim Boylen was head coach. Henry then spent time as a video department intern for the Indiana Pacers before landing a job with Hoiberg at Iowa State. He followed Hoiberg to the Bulls in 2015.
Henry spoke to Mike McGraw about his job change and an eventful life in basketball:
Q: First of all, why did the Bulls make this switch, with you and Nate Loenser basically swapping roles?
A: "It's something I wanted to do. When the Windy City job became available, it was an opportunity to one, stay a part of the Bulls organization and two, a chance to get head coaching experience, which is something I always wanted to do. It just felt for me, the time was right."
Q: Were you one of those coach's kids who was always shooting on a side basket while your dad was coaching on the other side of the gym?
A: "I come from a family of five. With my three sisters, they were kind of with mom. I was definitely trying to find a way to tag along with my dad everywhere I could, so that was definitely me. Spent a lot of time in gyms, on side courts and at tournaments. Since I was five or six, there was never any doubt in my mind about what I wanted to be."
Q: What was it like working with Boylan in Utah?
A: "It's a do anything and everything job. You've got to be willing obviously to do the grunt work, but you're also being part of the staff every day, being around coach, so you're learning the game on an entry level. There's usually no task too big or too small."
Q: That was actually Boylen's last year at Utah and he was fired after the season. Was that a strange ordeal?
A: "Obviously, that was unexpected, but also a quick learning experience with me being fairly new. You find out the realities of the job pretty quickly. After that, coach (Boylen) went into the Pacers and put in a good word for me and I was able to get on there as a video intern."
Q: How did you land the job at Iowa State?
A: "I was able to meet (Hoiberg) through an assistant that was on his staff. He offered me a great opportunity to finish my masters there and serve as a graduate assistant for him, but really be in charge of all the video stuff, because they did not have a video coordinator. I was looking for a good role under a good coach, so it made a lot of sense to me. A lot of things worked together and I made a move again."
Q: It sounds like you could teach a class in how to network.
A: "You know what, I think it's a fine line. I definitely think networking is a huge part of it. First of all, do a good job with the people you're with because they're ultimately going to decide your fate. When you're trying to secure full-time jobs, that's obviously a series of small steps and it's definitely a process. It's really tough. A lot of luck and timing plays into it and I've been blessed to work with good people who looked out for me."
Q: Did you have a specific role on the Bulls' coaching staff the past two years?
A: "Since I've been with Fred, my focus has been offensively. Keeping them organized, offensive system, implementation. I've set opponent scouts. It's a mix of working with Fred on the offense and then also you're doing your opponent scout work and your player development stuff, so between of those things, it creates full days."
Q: How are you preparing for this new role with the Windy City Bulls?
A: "I think the challenge for me is obviously being a first-time head coach and also being new to the league. I think it will just be that -- learning the league, learning opponents. But even more than that, the travel, the demands, the roster flexibility, all that. It's going to be a process familiarizing myself with the league while also being a first-time head coach, but that's a challenge I really look forward to."