Director of Athletics Steve Downing announced today that Mark Henninger will serve as the second head football coach in the history of Marian University.
“We are proud to announce Mark Henninger as the second-ever head coach of Marian University football,” said Downing. “His commitment to student-athletes, academics, and performance on the football field is exactly what we were looking for in this search. We are excited to have him join the Marian University athletics family.”
Henninger, a 39-year-old Indianapolis native, has spent the last five seasons as head football coach at North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC), a NCAA Division III institution, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Henninger takes the reins of a Marian University program that began competition in 2007 and won the institution’s first-ever NAIA National Championship and 21st overall national title with a 30-27 overtime victory over Morningside College (Iowa) on December 13, 2012. The Knights have amassed a 48-23 record, three NAIA Football Championship Series appearances, two Mid-States Football Association Mideast League championships, and the 2012 NAIA Football National Championship in just six years.
He was instrumental in the creation of the football program at NCWC, which began competing in 2004 and had the second-highest NCAA Division III winning percentage from 2004 through 2010.
In his five seasons as a head coach, Henninger amassed a 26-25 career record, including a 22-13 record in the USA South Conference. During his nine years with the program, NCWC went 48-40 and had a 40-22 conference record. In his second season as head coach, he earned USA South Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Battling Bishops to a perfect 7-0 mark and their second-ever conference championship.
He was also a part of the program’s first-ever conference title in 2007 as defensive coordinator. The 2007 season saw the Bishops earn an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in program history; it was also the first time a No. 8 seed upset a No. 1 seed when NCWC defeated Washington and Jefferson in the first round.
Henninger guided four NCWC players to NCAA Division III All-America honors. Thirty of his student-athletes were honored as All-USA South Conference First Team selections. He also guided four of his players to ESPN CoSIDA Academic All-Region honors.
Prior to his arrival at NCWC, Henninger served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Wittenberg University from 2000-2003. During his time at the winningest program in NCAA Division III history, the Tigers went 41-7, won two NCAC conference championships, and earned three NCAA Division III playoff appearances.
He spent one season as a graduate assistant at Wartburg College (1999-2000) in Waverly, Iowa where he coached the secondary. Wartburg earned the conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 10-1 record.
Henninger also coached overseas. He spent one year as an assistant coach with the Hamburg Blue Devils Football Club in Germany in 1998. Hamburg won the Euro Bowl with a record of 15-3-1 and was the German National Runners-up. He also spent two years as a graduate assistant at Millikin University from 1996-1998.
Henninger is a 1992 graduate of Roncalli High School and graduated from Wittenberg University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management in 1996.
As a defensive back at Wittenberg University, Henninger earned four varsity letters and was part of a team that went 35-5-1 in his four years. He was part of two NCAC championships and one NCAA Division III playoff appearance.
Mark and his wife, Jen, are the parents of one son, Jack, and two daughters, Mary and Abigail.