Winter 2003 Magazine Archive & SearchMuhlenberg Home

 

BY MIKE FALK
Sports Information Director

Muhlenberg’s venerable equipment man is still going strong after 35 years at the ’Berg.

When Wilson Hendricks was discharged from Hershey Medical Center following heart surgery last fall and told to go “home,” his first instinct was probably to go to the Muhlenberg College equipment room.
Since 1967, Hendricks has been an institution at Muhlenberg. He has the longest continuous tenure of any staff member currently at the College, and he quite possibly has attended more sporting events (usually working in some capacity) than anyone else in the school’s history.

Hendricks was watching football practice one day 35 years ago when the late Ray Whispell, then the football coach and athletic director, asked him if he wanted a maintenance job. For the next 13 years, Hendricks would help line the playing fields, trim the grass in places where the grounds crew couldn’t get and, during the winter, paint in Memorial Hall.
In 1981, around the time many members of the current senior class were born, Hendricks switched to the equipment room. The rest, as they say, is history.

Back then, the equipment room was on the west side of Memorial Hall, where the pool locker rooms are now. That is just one of the many changes Hendricks has witnessed during his stay at Muhlenberg. “I’ve seen a lot of coaches come and go,” understated Hendricks. For the record, there have been six football coaches, four athletic directors, three men’s and five women’s basketball coaches, 13 wrestling coaches and eight new varsity sports added at Muhlenberg since 1967 – and only one “Willie.”

In addition to being Muhlenberg’s equipment manager all these years, Hendricks has been willing to do many of the little things that keep the athletic department functioning. Like driving a sports team to and from the airport on a day when everybody else is at home enjoying a holiday. Or meeting the basketball team at Moravian and filming the game when all the student workers are home for the holidays.

“Willie has done things like this over and over throughout his career at Muhlenberg, little behind-the-scenes things that add up over time,” noted Dave Madeira, the current men’s basketball coach, who ranks second in athletic department tenure with a mere 21 years. “An equipment manager is sometimes taken for granted.”

(continued)

 

20
previous page CONTENTS next page