UPDATE - Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.: A parent of a West Potomac football player contacted Patch this morning to say the booster club meeting tonight has been canceled. "Coach Henderson has asked us to move on," she wrote.
Original Story - Wednesday, 6 a.m.
West Potomac High School's booster club will meet Wednesday evening to demonstrate support for Eric Henderson, who was fired from his position as head football coach last week.
Six days after The Washington Post reported Henderson had been relieved of his position, more information is becoming available.
According to a source from inside West Potomac who wished to remain anonymous, the decision came from Fairfax County Public Schools, not the school itself, and was based on off-field factors including improper fundraising and player eligibility violations.
Messages for Henderson went unreturned. Both West Potomac and FCPS declined official comment, but according to FCPS spokesman John Torre, West Potomac has “started to advertise for the position [of head football coach]. That’s how the process is moving forward right now.”
Though he didn’t comment directly, Torre didn’t rule out a possible reversal of the decision when asked.
Today's booster club meeting won’t be the first time the West Potoamc community reacted to Henderson’s departure. He resigned following the 2009 season after compiling a 2-8 record and undergoing surgery for kidney stones, but reversed his decision after hearing positive feedback from parents and students.
But not all of the West Potomac community stood behind Henderson during his tenure. A 2006 email from Henderson to former West Potomac assistant football coach Willie McCallum has surfaced in which Henderson claimed he would “destroy [a former player] and his chances of getting a scholarship” because the player's father had criticized the football program. Some parents believe that was not the last time Henderson threatened to take revenge on parents by punishing their sons.
Editor's Note: A PDF version of the email is attached in the photo section and contains one example of obscene language. Patch was unable to verify the authenticity of the email.
Henderson was hired in 2004 and, after a 1-9 record in his first season, has guided the Wolverines to a 40-34 record over the following seven seasons. In 2011, West Potomac advanced to the Virginia AAA Northern Region Div. 6 semifinals, one of its most successful finishes since winning consecutive state titles in 1989 and 1990.
Much of that success was due to the play of Henderson’s son, Caleb, a 6-foot-3 sophomore quarterback who earned the starting position mid-season. Caleb Henderson passed for 2,403 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions en route to being named to the All-Patriot District first team and the All-Northern Region second team.
The booster club meeting will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the WPHS school cafeteria.