Longtime coach and mentor remembered for inspiring youth

Longtime coach and mentor remembered for inspiring youth
December 08
05:40 2016



There were few empty seats left inside Ambassadors for Christ Revival last Saturday afternoon as more than 200 people filed into the church on the corner of Harriet Tubman Drive and East 15th Street to celebrate the life of Hansel Hentz. A 1963 graduate of Anderson High School, Hentz was a standout athlete in both basketball and football. Although he loved the game of basketball, Hentz used the game of football to earn a scholarship to Fayetteville State University. That passion for basketball stuck with him, however. After graduating, Hentz returned to the city to work for the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department. There, he used the fundamentals of basketball to teach life lessons. Hentz also started the popular summer basketball league at 14th Street Recreation Center that featured some of the city’s best high school and college athletes.

In 2012, Hentz earned the Northwest YMCA Strong Award, which is awarded annually to individuals who demonstrate exceptional volunteerism.

As evident by the crowd on Saturday, Dec. 3, Hentz touched hundreds of lives.

During the celebration of life, a number of people said they saw Hentz as a father figure. City native Carlos Gregory said although he was strict, Hentz inspired him to strive for perfection both on and off the court.

“He would always say, don’t listen to how I’m talking to you just make sure your getting the message,” said Gregory. “This man pushed me to be great.”

“I really believe he touched everybody’s life he came in contact with.”

The Rev. Gwatney Leak, a close friend of Hentz for more than 60 years, said Hentz was a God- fearing man who genuinely cared about the well being of others. He mentioned Hentz played a major role in bringing the annual Christmas Breakfast to the 14th Street Recreation Center.  Each year the event feeds hundreds of people on Christmas morning.

“He had a real passion for giving and looking out for others,” Leak said. “He will be missed, but he will live on through the people he touched.”

Before delivering a powerful eulogy, Joseph Cobbs, senior pastor at Gethsemane Hope Missionary Baptist Church, said he was honored to be in Hentz’ presence. Cobbs mentioned even in his last days, Hentz was in great spirits.

He said, “He was a great man and a good member of Gethsemane Baptist Church.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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