Former HOF Tiger baseball coach makes return to dugout after completing cancer treatments

Scott Hennessey, wearing a Dodgers shirt, poses for a picture at ONEOK Park in Tulsa surrounded by family, along with the family and friends of current Cowley baseball coach Darren Burroughs and former Tigers manager Dave Burroughs. (Photo courtesy Cowley College)

From RAMA PEROO/Cowley College

TULSA — Honoring their former assistant baseball coach at Cowley College, friends, and family flocked to the Tulsa Drillers ballpark to welcome back Scott Hennessey, the manager of the Tulsa Drillers and a member of the Cowley College Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame, Saturday at ONEOK Field.

Cowley College head baseball coach Darren Burroughs and former Tiger head baseball coach Dave Burroughs were joined at ONEOK Field by former assistant coach Aaron Sanderholm and other former Cowley College baseball players to support Hennessey after he recently completed 35 chemotherapy and radiation treatments after being diagnosed with Stage 3 curable squamous cell carcinoma.

“I have been fighting for 12-13 weeks, and it was the toughest thing I have ever had to go through, mentally and physically,” Hennessey said. “I just tried to win the day. I have had a lot of people support me.”

Hennessey, who helped the Cowley College baseball team to back-to-back Junior College World Series titles in 1997 and 1998 as an assistant coach, has continued to have great success as the manager of the Tulsa Drillers and spent the 2020 baseball season as a special assistant with the World Series winning Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hennessey had been on a medical leave of absence from the Drillers since the end of June. The team had been in a tailspin without their skipper, having lost 12 games in a row before Hennessey’s return.

With their manager back in the dugout on Friday, the Drillers responded by breaking their losing streak with an 8-3 victory over Corpus Christi. Tulsa also went on to win on Saturday, defeating Corpus Christi 8-4.

Tulsa Drillers Manager Scott Hennessey dons a Cowley baseball cap at ONEOK Park Saturday in Tulsa. Hennessey, a Cowley Tiger Hall of Fame member, returned to the dugout for the first time after he recently completed 35 chemotherapy and radiation treatments after being diagnosed with Stage 3 curable squamous cell carcinoma. (Photo courtesy Cowley College)

“The guys played one of their best games of the year on Friday,” Hennessey said. “It was good for me to be back and for them to see me back. It was a perfect night for baseball, and I think I missed the guys more than they missed me.”

In five previous seasons as the Drillers’ head coach, Hennessey led the team to four playoff appearances, three Texas League division titles, and the 2018 pennant. His 369 wins rank second among Drillers managers.

The Tigers were 199-44 during Hennessey’s four years as an assistant coach. During that time, Cowley won four Jayhawk Conference Titles, four Sub-Region Titles, three Region 6 Titles, two Central Districts Titles, and two JUCO World Series titles.

“Cowley is where I got my start, and I totally believe in what Dave and Darren can do for kids,” Hennessey said. “It is a long-lasting friendship with Dave, Darren, and I, and is a bond that will never be broken. It means the world to me to have them here.”

Hennessey said not to overlook warning signs and not to be too prideful to visit a doctor if you feel things are wrong.

“I almost waited too long. If you feel something is wrong or feel a change in your body, go to the doctor,” Hennessey said. “It is good to be back. Baseball is my life; it’s what I love to do is to compete.”