Mike Henderson was best known as a committed tennis coach and a devoted follower of Christ. He coached tennis at the University of South Florida for over 20 years, leading the men’s tennis team to several championship titles, including the Big East Championship. He was also a coach and mentor at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, Palmer Tennis Academy, and Tampa’s Development Program at Hillsborough Community College.
More importantly, he was passionate about sharing the Gospel with his fellow athletes. He was a member of Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida since 1986, and became involved with SCORE International about seven years ago. Mike wanted to share his love of tennis and have a platform to share his love for Christ with athletes from the Dominican Republic. He would travel to the DR several times a year, leading conditioning and training camps for young Dominican athletes, and sharing the Gospel every chance he got.
On May 5, 2020, Mike Henderson passed away while he was in Tampa from a heart attack. While we mourn the loss of Mike in our SCORE family, we rejoice that he is in heaven with his Savior. Many of Mike’s friends, former players, and church family have asked how they can help during this time. SCORE is assisting Mike’s family with funeral arrangements and helping to cover some of those costs. If you would like to help either with funeral costs or to continue Mike’s legacy of sharing and advancing the Gospel message, then please consider donating to the ministry of SCORE International in his memory. You can click the link below to make a donation, and in the “Donate To” box you can simply put “Mike Henderson Memorial Fund.”
Here are some quotes and fond memories from Mike’s friends:
“The SCORE Family is saddened as our DR Missionary, Mike Henderson passed on to Glory…Mike was a true servant and follower of Christ. Many in the DR came to Christ because of Mike and his tennis ministry. He served His Lord well.” – John Zeller
“Mike was a good friend to me for 25 years and one of the most spiritually encouraging people I ever knew… His passion for serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel never wavered. Nothing in this world mattered to him materially…his only concern was for the spiritual well-being of the hundreds of people he made personal one on one contact with over the years for the sake of the gospel.” – Carolyn Fugerer
“Mr. Mike once literally gave me the shirt off of his back because I said that I liked it. He was a prayer warrior; always messaging and calling me about how he could be praying for my family and I. He cared deeply about his people and had a passion for telling others about Christ’s love.” – Abby Shaw
“Mike loved Jesus, and he loved others sacrificially. He poured out his life for the message of the Gospel. I will miss my friend, my brother in Christ, and one of my great heroes.” – Peter Adler
“Mr. Mike made a major impact on my family while we were in the Dominican. He made me question so much about my faith, but in a good way. His laugh would crack me up, too. The world has lost a wonderful man who loved Jesus so much.” – Natalie Kelley
“Aw wow…what an incredible, fun, and Christ-exalting man. Never will forget his love for tennis and the kindness he continuously showed me. He will be missed for sure.” – Michelle Harrison
“Mr. Mike was such a sweet, kind man who loved the Lord with all he had. I loved running into him on Sunday mornings, him giving me that big smile and talking about our DR trips and him trying to convince me every time to go back with him and coach. He will be missed, and his impact on this earth was that of a faithful servant.” – Ashley Jimeno
“Mike was a natural: a natural friend, athlete, Christian brother, and all-around great guy. We had many deep conversations that I will always cherish.
Mike also became one of our first international missionaries. As a tennis professional and teacher, he connected with one of our missionaries who had set up a business in Northern Africa with a sports platform. Mike travelled there to teach tennis to young men in very high positions. His expertise and credibility was a tremendous help to our missionary as he worked with the government seeking to share the gospel in an unreached area. I will treasure my relationship with Mike. I look forward to seeing him again one day very soon.” – Reno Zunz, Idlewild Baptist Church
“Mike Henderson joined the Worship Choir of Idlewild Baptist Church in April 2004. When asked to tell us something about himself, he wrote on his registration form, “I grew up in North Georgia. I’m a tennis coach on the local level and at USF. I enjoy other sports and spending time with friends.” I will remember Mike as a faithful servant who loved God, served others, and had many friends. I will ever be grateful that I was one among the many. The Heavenly Choir is sweeter today.” – Ron Upton, Idlewild Baptist Church