Our “Early Legends” lesson plan moves along into the 1940’s with one of the true iron men of the early ages of Arizona State football.
A gritty halfback for Arizona State Teachers College from 1938-40, Hascall Henshaw was known in his day as “The Tombstone Terror”. However, as Bob Eger wrote in our unofficial course text Maroon and Gold: A History of Sun Devil Athletics, he didn’t quite look as terrorizing as he played on the gridiron.
“He weighed roughly 140 pounds dripping wet,” wrote Eger. “When his asthma flared up, he sometimes had to head for the bench to catch his breath…But then Hascall Henshaw would take a handoff…and magic would unfold.”
Born Jan. 23, 1917 in Cochise, Ariz., Henshaw, joined by the likes of E Sam Andrews, C Ray Green, HB Joe Hernandez, FB Wayne Pitts, G Noble Riggs and G Al Sanserino, helped push ASTC to Border Conference championships and bowl game appearances in 1939 and ’40.
As a senior for the Bulldogs, Henshaw garnered All-Border Conference honors for the ASTC squad that finished 7-2-2 and earned a spot in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Day 1941.
In the Sun Bowl against Case Western Reserve, Henshaw’s final college game, he recorded his most memorable highlight with a stellar 94-yard touchdown dash. At the time, it was the longest run in college football history and today it stands as the fourth-longest all-time at ASU.
In all, Henshaw rushed 29 times for 147 yards in the Sun Bowl and was named to the 1941 All-American Bowl Team. In 2008, Henshaw was named one of 75 players recognized to the Sun Bowl’s 75th anniversary All-Sun Bowl team.
The previous season, Henshaw’s playmaking skills also were displayed with a 91-yard kickoff return against Cal Poly-Obispo, which ranked among the top-10 longest kick returns in school history into the early 2000’s.
After college, Henshaw went on to a successful career as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Phoenix area schools system. In recognition of an influential career spanning more than 30 years, in September of 1981 the football facility at Tempe’s Corona del Sol High School was renamed H.H. Henshaw Stadium in his honor.
Henshaw was inducted into ASU’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. He passed away on July 4, 1996.