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Bemidji HS football: Hendricks steps in as new coach

Bemidji High School will welcome back a familiar face into its football program next fall.

Activities Director Harvey Crable announced the appointment of Troy Hendricks to take over the Jacks program this fall.

He returns eight years after he stepped down as Bemidji coach after the 2001 season after guiding his alma mater for seven yeas compiling a 32-38 record. He took the 2000 team to the state tournament where it fell to Wayzata and Marion Barber 41-14.

He had taken over as Activities Director in 1999 and found the two jobs too demanding to give justice to both.

He continued as AD through 2003 when he resigned from the school district to enter private business.

He returned this fall as the new Middle School Dean of Students and Activities Director.

He inherits a program that has not had a winning year since his departure going 13-50 under three coaches including 3-6 the past four seasons.

Hendricks is a BHS graduate (1982) who starred fin football and wrestling.

He spent a semester at North Dakota on a wrestling scholarship before transferring to Moorhead to play football the next four seasons under ex-Lumberjack Ross Fortier.

He earned NAIA All American honors as a running back before graduating in 1987.

After a year as a graduate assistant he began his coaching career at Buffalo where he ran the grid program for five years.

He took a year off to enter private business, at Sleepy Eye, then returned to Moorhead State as an assistant coach while completing his advanced degree

He came from that post back home to Bemidji in the fall of 1995 to succeed Dan O'Brien who headed to St. Paul Concordia College as assistant grid coach.

Continuing O'Brien's rebuilding program, he guided the Jacks to an 8-2 mark in 1998 reaching the section final before being shaded by Brainerd 35-33.

Two years later the Jacks beat Brainerd 27-25 in the section title game to reach the state meet under its present format for the first time.

Bemidji went 8-3 in his final year before he stepped down from coaching..

As a player, he led the Jacks his senior year in offense with 48 points and gained 818 yards rushing for a 5.9 yards per carry mark.

He also paced Bemidji in defense with 178 points playing as a linebacker.

He was a participant in the state wrestling meet in 1980-81-82 leading the team in scoring his final two years after finishing second to Jim Lefebvre as a sophomore. He was 28-2 as a junior and 27-2 his senior year.

As a soph he finished 17-10 after transferring to Bemidji from Sauk Rapids.

He succeeded Jim Mergens as AD and appointed 15 new head coaches in his five years at the helm including present coaches Don Papreck in gymnastics Jeff Brown in boys basketball, Teresa Colligan in volleyball and Scott Leindecker as girls swim coach.

Mergens had made 17 coaching changes in his fur years in the post.

It will be the 13th new coach named by Crable since 2004 with a 14th expected shortly to take over the wrestling program.

One of the major problems facing Hendricks will be to rebuild the numbers in football. Bemidji has dressed around 45 players the past several years in the top three grades, the majority of them sophomores.

The switch from 8-5A to 7-4A next fall should be of some aid but will match Bemidji against former Iron Range and Duluth rivals it once played early in the century.

He will meet with 2009 prospective high school football players at 8:45 with eighth graders at the Middle School and 9:40 with 9-11 graders in the Lumberjacks Room at the high school.