Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Memory bank full for Herrmann

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 8/15/2014

Shawn Herrmann got into coaching and teaching as a youngster right out of Ottawa University.

His goal was to make an influence in the lives of students and athletes, not only in baseball, but as a friend and mentor.

Shawn Herrmann got into coaching and teaching as a youngster right out of Ottawa University.

His goal was to make an influence in the lives of students and athletes, not only in baseball, but as a friend and mentor.

The past 15 years, he has accomplished all of that and more.

Some of his players he met in first grade with his job as physical education teacher at Garfield Elementary.

Many of his former players he keeps in contact with and even attends their weddings.

So the decision to step away from coaching the Ottawa American Legion baseball team was not easy, but one he needed to do.

“It was pretty tough,” Herrmann said after resigning this week. “They have been part of my family for 15 years.”

Herrmann can now concentrate on his own family during the summer.

“I definitely am looking forward being with my family more,” Herrmann said. “I am still a big part of their lives. I won’t be coaching in the summer time. I will still be around. I will still be a part of the program. Help out when I can.”

Herrmann will remain as the Ottawa High School baseball coach in the spring.

Herrmann had lots of memories with the Legion program. He accumulated nearly 400 victories, two state titles (2002, 2009) and one regional championship (2002).

“I can’t complain about any of my experiences,” Herrmann said. “I can’t think of one negative.”

He gives credit to the players through the years for the success and memories.

“I remember the kids how dedicated they were,” he said. “They have been dedicated to the baseball program. Baseball comes first. That is how they were raised.

“I am pleased with the way the kids acted and treated me and my family. They took me in from day one. That is huge for me.”

Many of his former players talked to him after his decision to resign.

“I wanted them to hear it from me first,” he said. “They talked about their experiences they had. It brings back a bunch of memories.”

He is the only Legion coach to guide Ottawa teams to multiple state championships, including an unbeaten mark in 2009.

Herrmann has matured and changed through the years. He no longer could throw batting practice as much in the later years.

“I have gotten smarter,” he said. “I use my mind more than my body. I have changed how I treat the kids. Every year is different. I adapted to every year.

“I give the same speech every year after high school. We will not practice as much as we do in high school. My expectations are the exact same. We will compete and play hard. There was no letdown.

“It was definitely the kids. I bought in to them. They trusted me as much as I trusted them.”

One of his strengths was knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his players.

“I know the kids real well,” Herrmann said. “I knew what kid could do what. I know when to give them a pat on the back or kick in the butt. They believed in themselves.”

Herrmann said it was fun ride.

“Thanks for all the support,” he said. “It has been a great time.”

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