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For his contributions to the basketball programs in particular and to all the teams in general, Hendricks received the Community Service Award prior to the 2002 Scotty Wood Tournament.

“I was very surprised,” said Hendricks, who resumed full-time work at Muhlenberg in November, about learning he would receive the award. “With all that was going on in my life since the beginning of the year it’s good to get this award. I guess somebody up above is watching
over me.”

What the doctors at Hershey found in Hendricks’ heart (besides the things that needed fixing) was an unquestionable love for Muhlenberg athletics — and Muhlenberg athletes. The feeling is mutual. Hendricks has endeared himself to thousands of Mule athletes through his own unique style, one that prompted current Director of Athletics Steve Erber to write the following in an e-mail to the department: “Not sure what that means for all of us as the thought of Willie with lots more blood and oxygen coursing through his arteries and veins is a bit scary, but we are certainly glad that Willie has come through this well and the outlook is excellent.”

Although Hendricks was away from Muhlenberg for a few months (“I missed it, but I didn’t miss football preseason camp,” he said. “That’s the toughest part of the year”), he was always close at heart. “I have a stack about that high,” said Hendricks, holding his thumb and forefinger far apart, of the cards he received while recuperating.

A lifelong resident of Allentown, Hendricks is not only a fixture at Muhlenberg, but he also is well known around the Lehigh Valley sports scene. He can regularly be seen as part of the “chain gang” for high school football games at J. Birney Crum Stadium, or attending American Legion baseball games in the summer, or going to Patriots Park to watch softball, whoever is playing.

Hendricks says he plans to work at Muhlenberg for another eight years or so. It is hard to imagine what the place will be like without him.


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