APS Celebrates the Legacy of Eddie S. Henderson Sr. with Stadium Renaming Ceremony

Henderson Stadium. L-R: Tonya Henderson-Freeman, Jasper Jewell, Eddie S. Henderson Jr, & Dr. Lisa Herring

Mr. Eddie S. Henderson, Sr. offered more than three decades of public education and public service accomplishments, experience and acumen in athletics and high school sports. He was a product of his own environment and was tirelessly dedicated to changing the way of life for so many students. He was extremely proud when he returned to Archer High School as a principal where he was once a student. A strong supporter of student achievement, Mr. Henderson, a very spirited man, was often seen cheering his students’ great works throughout the hallways of many schools during his tenure with Atlanta Public Schools (APS). As a teacher, a coach and later athletic director he was a huge proponent of encouraging his teams to well-rounded sportsman and sportswomen.

Eddie S. Henderson Sr.

Born in Georgia, he was Atlanta grown and raised. Henderson attended Archer High School. In 1967, he founded the Atlanta Spartans Athletic Club in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended and graduated from Morris Brown College in 1972, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education. While attending Morris Brown Henderson played “Tight End” and received the Morris Brown College Athletic Hall of Fame Award.

Henderson never ceased to improve himself. He constantly sought new ways to increase his educational attainment. He earned his Master of Arts Degree from Atlanta University in 1990 and his Specialist in Education from Clark Atlanta University in 1994. A supporter of education, Henderson brought a no-nonsense for excuses attitude to the school system. He was a father to so many young men with missing in-action-fathers. If the team members did not have transportation, he would take every one of them home, walk them to the door, and inform the parent how they played that evening.

Henderson was the first African American in the State of Georgia to complete the requirements of a Certified Athletic Director. As Athletic Director, he defended the APS students’ rights to demand quality athletic facilities at all schools throughout the school system. Henderson worked tirelessly on athletic field renovation projects, which included providing quality equipment to many schools system wide. It was important to him for students at APS to have comparable athletic fields and equipment to other schools in Georgia. Henderson was well liked and respected by parents, teachers and students. He also worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Leveraging an ever expanding portfolio of qualifications covering education, operations, athletics management and more, he was a faithful Sunday school teacher and family man. He was a lifetime member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

The following is a list a few of his accomplishments in Atlanta Public School System:

  • Physical Education Teacher, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Assistant Football Coach at Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Head Boys Basketball Coach, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Head Baseball Coach, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Head Girls Basketball Coach, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Head Football Coach, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Athletic Director, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Assistant Principal, Carver High School, Atlanta, Georgia
  • National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association – Certified Athletic Administrator April 24, 1997
  • Athletic Director, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, Georgia 1995 – 2001
  • Principal, Archer High School, Atlanta, Georgia 1991 – 1995
  • Friend of Debaters, S.H. Archer High School May 26, 1992
  • Georgia High School Association, Award for Distinguished Service as a State Executive Boy’s High School Alumni Association, Atlanta, Georgia H.O. Smith Fellow 1994
  • Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, Assistant Coach of the Year Girls Basketball 1987 (Grady High School)
  • Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, All-Star Assistant Coach July 19, 1983 (Grady High School)
  • Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, All-Star Coach December 1983 (Grady High School)
Eddie S. Henderson Jr.

Eddie S. Henderson Jr. spoke eloquently about his father.

“If my dad was here, what would he say?” is how Eddie started the speech. “He would say thank you Atlanta Board of Education, thank you Atlanta Public Schools, and thank you Morris Brown College for giving me the opportunity to be a student athlete and to get my education.”

“Thank you Raymond Wainwright Sr. for being the first black athletic director for Atlanta Public Schools, and allowing me to be tutored under you. Thank you Grady High School, you gave me my start in this community and you allowed for me to make my mark here. Thank you Archer High School, for allowing me to return as an administrator after attending there as a student.”

Henderson Jr. continued on to display how much of a family man his father was.

“Thank you to my wife, Collistine, who cleaned me up and supported me when things got rough in this work. That also loved me through it all. And lastly, to you my students, my players, and my community, I thank you!”

He closed with, “When you see the name on the stadium or someone asks ‘who was that?’ tell them this story so that it is inspiring and it may lift up those who may feel like they are forceless. Those who may feel like they are hindered, or who may feel like they don’t have a way, we will let them know that there was a man who stood here and fought the good fight.”

“As a young man my dad used to always tell me, ‘don’t do anything to embarrass the family, instead do things to make the family proud.’ APS, you’re my family, and I hope you are proud.”

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