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By Riley Cole, West Delaware junior
MANCHESTER — Even though it’s his off-season, B.J. Hermsen is keeping busy.
A professional baseball pitcher in the Minnesota Twins’ organization, Hermsen is back in his hometown volunteering as an assistant boys’ basketball coach.
A 2007 West Delaware graduate, Hermsen excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He was a starting pitcher for the 2007 state champion baseball team, led the football team to a state runner-Up finish as the quarterback in 2005 and was an all-state basketball player in 2006.
The past three years, Hermsen has returned to Manchester to volunteer his time.
“I love being around the place where I grew up,” Hermsen said. “I get to see familiar faces everyday and that makes me extremely happy.”
Hermsen volunteers more than 300 hours in his home community. He supervises the weight room and open gym for basketball players on Sunday nights and is the top assistant on the boys’ varsity team.
“He has been a godsend to me as our top varsity assistant,” said Tony Tjaden, head boys’ basketball.
Hermsen appreciates all of those who coached him throughout his career.
“All of them have contributed to the man I am today,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them.”
Tjaden believes Hermsen has valuable knowledge about basketball to share with his players.
“The younger players look up to him, and he teaches the game well,” Tjaden said.
Hermsen’s hard work and determination has helped him achieve his goals.
“I don’t know if people have an appreciation for how hard he has worked to reach his level of success,” baseball coach Mike Morrison said. “He did all things required of him above and beyond.”
Brock Morris, a senior basketball player, admires Hermsen’s work ethic in and out of practice.
“He has shown student-athletes that if you work hard it can get you somewhere,” Morris said. “He has taught me to never give up on my dreams and if you work hard you can achieve anything.”
Morris also admires how down-to-earth Hermsen is.
“He has taught us all to be humble,” Morris said. “Nothing was given to him and nothing is given to us.”
Morrison thinks the same way. “He has never viewed himself as being above the rest,” he said.
Morrison said Hermsen has an amazing sense of “team.”
“He knows that the goals of the team are far more important than the goals of the individual,” Morrison said.
Giving back to his hometown is one way Hermsen is thanking his community for all of the support and pride they have shown him.
“The amount of time he has given back to the community is priceless,” Tjaden said.