CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

Two-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track and field coach Dionne Henley passed away on Dec. 24.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. at the Myrtle Beach Christian Church located at 1226 Burcale Road in Myrtle Beach.

Henley, who focused on the sprints, hurdles, and relays for the Chanticleer men’s and women’s track and field programs, came to Coastal Carolina University in the summer of 2017 after seven years at Central Michigan (2010-16).

Prior to joining Central Michigan, Henley served as an assistant coach at Tennessee State University for two years in 2008-09. TSU experienced immediate success with Henley on the staff, capturing the Ohio Valley Conference indoor championship in her first season with the Tigers in 2008.

Henley’s coaching career began as an assistant at her alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University, under hall of fame coach Dean Hayes for two seasons (2005-07). In her time at MTSU, the Raiders won three Sun Belt Conference titles and she trained four All-Americans.

Henley was one of MTSU’s most accomplished athletes, setting six school records in her time. She became the Blue Raiders’ first individual NCAA national champion in 1994, claiming the title in the indoor 55-meter hurdles (7.60), and she added a fourth-place in the long jump (20-4/25). All told, Henley earned All-American honors in four events that season, including the 55m hurdles and long jump during the indoor season, and the 100-meter hurdles (eighth-place) and long jump (fourth-place) for the outdoor season. She was also selected the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track Woman of the Year that season.

In 2006, Henley was inducted into the MTSU Sports Hall of Fame.

Henley started her collegiate track and field career at Florida. In 1992, she was the 1992 Southeastern Conference outdoor long jump champion (20-11) and earned two NCAA Indoor All-American honors that season as she placed second in the 55m hurdles and eighth in the long jump.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Henley was a two-time Olympian in the 100m hurdles. Representing Jamaica, Henley reached the semifinals in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and placed fifth in the finals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

She also placed fifth at the 1995 World Championship, sixth at the 1997 World Championship, fourth at the 1998 World Cup, and sixth at both the 1999 World Championship and the 2001 World Championship.

In addition to her accomplishments in the Olympics and World Championships, Henley also placed fifth in the 100m hurdles at the 2001 Goodwill Games and was first in the event at the 2002 Caribbean Games.

Henley graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in leisure and recreation in 2005.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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