BEMIDJI – Troy Hendricks is a lumberjack through and through.
A native of Bemidji, an outstanding athlete and a 1982 graduate of Bemidji High School, Hendricks returned to BHS in 1995 as a football coach. Soon after, he served as operations director from 1999 to 2003, then returned for a second stint as AD from 2010.
But in December, at the end of the fall semester, he will hang up his hat for the last time and retire as director of operations after nearly two decades of service. Why now?
“Because I can,” Hendricks joked.
Seriously, though, Hendricks thinks now is just the right time to step down. After talking to his son James, a financial adviser and former star athlete for BHS and North Dakota State, the pieces all seemed to fit together. Hendricks has other things he wants to do with his life, and he’s looking for the freedom to be able to pursue them.
“Bemidji has a lot to offer for me and the habits I have,” Hendricks said. “I love golf. I like to hike and bike, and I’m on the mountain bike trail near the country club (a lot). I love snowmobiling with my kids and family, and we did a ton last year. So the things that I really like to do are here.
That being said, he won’t mind the freedom to go out for a bit in the winter, especially when the cold weather extends into the spring months.
“Winter can get a little old,” admitted Hendricks. “Especially in March and April, when I can get out of here and hang out where it’s sunny.”
Although he enjoys exploring warmer environments, Hendricks will miss the daily interactions with BHS students, something he thrived on during his tenure as DA.
“I like to spend a lot of time visiting them, which gives the kids a hard time,” Hendricks said. “And at the same time, understanding when they go through tough times that there’s always an opportunity to get them back.”
He also credited his students with invigorating him as he went about his work each day.
“Kids will make you feel young,” Hendricks said. “Just having the opportunity to walk through the ups and downs with them, hopefully lend a ear and provide guidance along the way is something I’ve always appreciated.”
Hendricks was Bemidji’s football coach from 1995 to 2001 and again from 2009 to 2019. Under his leadership, the program won sectional championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018.
In total, BHS sports won 54 section titles during Hendricks’ run as an AD. Lumberjack athletes also won seven individual state championships during this period.
For his part, Hendricks hoped to leave a legacy of a department of activities that would enrich the lives of those who passed through it. He wanted those who participated in extracurricular activities at BHS to benefit from the time they spent in these endeavors, and to remember them fondly after their high school time ended.
“I wanted to create an environment that people wanted to be part of,” Hendricks said. “There was a coach I had trained with, and that was kind of his catchphrase every year. For me, I always wanted to create an environment – whether in my office or as a coach – that was pleasant and that people liked to be around.
But even if he retires, that doesn’t mean he won’t be around. When asked if he’ll be back at Chet Anderson Stadium next fall, he didn’t mince words.
“I imagine I will be, yes,” Hendricks said. “I do not go.”