March 19, 1935 |
Bienville, Bienville Parish, Louisiana
|AFL Draft||1960 / Round : First selection|
|TSN All-AFL||1961, 1962, 1963, 1964|
|AFL All-Star||1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965|
|Honors||American Football League
Champion, 1960 and 1961
First player with more than
100 rcpts/season (101, 1964)
|Records||Held season receiving yardage
title (1,746 yards)
|1960-1966||AFL Houston Oilers|
Charles Taylor Hennigan, Sr., known as Charlie Hennigan (born March 19, 1935), is a retired American football player with the former Houston Oilers who resides in Shreveport, Louisiana. Born in Bienville in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, Hennigan grew up in nearby Minden, the seat of Webster Parish, located thirty miles east of Shreveport. His father, Clarence Roland Hennigan (1905–1992), was still a sheriff's deputy when he died at the age of eighty-seven.
Minden, a small city, produced other successful athletes too, including David Allen Lee (born 1943), the punter for the Baltimore Colts from 1966–1978, and Fred Haynes (1946–2006), the holder of many football records as the quarterback at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge during the late 1960s.
Hennigan attended LSU on a track scholarship but wanted to play football. He therefore transferred to Northwestern State University (then Northwestern State College) in Natchitoches, where he became the star of the team. In 1960, he joined the American Football League's Houston Oilers in the team's first year of operation. Prior to joining the Oilers, he had taught high school biology at a salary of some $2,700 per year. He kept his teacher pay stub in his helmet to remind him that he must succeed in pro athletes.
Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history. After a promising rookie season, in 1961 he started all 14 games and established himself as a superstar in the AFL by gaining 1,746 yards receiving, a pro-football record that stood for 34 years. One of quarterback George Blanda’s main targets, Hennigan was the second professional football player to catch more than a hundred passes in a single season (101 in 1964) and to twice gain over 1,500 yards receiving (1961 and 1964). He holds the all-time records for most games in a season with over 200 yards receiving with three, and most games in a season with over 100 yards receiving with 11. Hennigan had the All-time AFL single game record of 272 yards receiving, against the Boston Patriots on October 13, 1961.
Hennigan was selected by his peers as a Sporting News AFL All-League offensive end in 1961, 1962, and 1964. He was an American Football League Eastern Division All-Star five straight years (1961 - 1965), and retired after the 1966 season. He was selected to the All-Time All-AFL Second Team.
Hall of Famer Willie Brown was originally signed by the Oilers in 1963, but was cut during training camp. On the 2009 Showtime series Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League, George Blanda tells this story: "Willie couldn't cover Charley Hennigan in practice, so he was let go, and the Broncos picked him up. The next year we played Denver, and Charley needed nine catches to break Lionel Taylor's record of 100 receptions in a season. Charley got the nine he needed, with Willie covering him. Willie's in the Hall of Fame. Charley Hennigan should be, too."
On January 19, 1962, Minden observed "Charlie Hennigan" Day. Then State Senator Harold Montgomery, State Representative, Parey Branton, Mayor Frank T. Norman, and other local officials presented Hennigan with a signed document of his accomplishments. A luncheon and evening meal were served in his honor.
In 1967, Hennigan received his doctorate in education from the University of Houston. Hennigan operates an educational tutoring service in Shreveport and works with prisoners seeking the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Hennigan has seven children, the oldest being Charles, Jr., who was born in Natchitoches in 1957.
On April 6, 2002, Hennigan, a Democrat, ran in a special election for Place 8 on the Caddo Parish Commission, his parish's governing body. He was defeated by Republican Michael Long. Long obtained 2,139 votes (74.9 percent) to Hennigan's 716 ballots (25.1 percent).
- "Lura Hennigan: Sacrifice of Thanksgiving", Minden Press-Herald, November 16, 1984, p. 5
- "Hero's Welcome Given Local Pro Grid Athlete", Minden Press, January 22, 1962, p. 1
- "Charles Henningan to Get Doctor's Degree", Minden Press-Herald, June 2, 1967
- Campaign to get Hennigan inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Hennigan Website
- Hennigan's 1965 Topps football card
- Hennigan's first AFL contract
|NFL single-season receiving record