Downes Hall of Fame Inductee Spotlight: David Hendrickson '88

Downes Hall of Fame Inductee Spotlight: David Hendrickson '88
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--David Hendrickson '88 is one of six Golden Bear standouts who will be inducted to the Western New England University Downes Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend as part of Homecoming activities. The 15th class will be formally enshrined in a ceremony at Rivers Memorial Hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a social mixer and dinner beginning at 6 p.m.

"It was an honor to be able to play for (former men's soccer) Coach (Bill) Downes and an honor to be inducted into my alma mater's Hall of Fame," said Hendrickson.

Hendrickson played the stopper position on four winning teams on his way to establishing himself as one of the top soccer players ever at Western New England. A four-year starter for the Golden Bears, he twice was named the team's most valuable defensive player and served as team captain in 1986 and '87. Hendrickson finished his career by scoring 28 points on 11 goals and six assists from 1984-87 and WNE went 41-30-6 (.571) during his career while competing in three NAIA District playoffs.

Hendrickson capped his brilliant career by earning All-America First Team recognition on defense from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1987, helping the squad to a 10-7-1 record. He notched 11 points, including a team-co-leading five goals, during his senior season, and he was selected the school's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 1987-88.

An example of Hendrickson's toughness came in his junior year when he suffered a broken foot. The doctor said he would be out for a month, but he recovered quickly to participate in the playoffs.

"Among the many great memories from my time at Western New England, the one that stands out the most to me was the day I broke my foot against American International College...We were playing at the old football field that no longer exists. The game was tied, and we were the better team. I was taking a shot, and an AIC player swung his toes right into the bottom of my foot. I made it over to the end of our bench (but) I knew I was hurt pretty badly and took my cleat off right away," Hendrickson recalled.

"I could see my dad across the field in the stands sitting with my girlfriend (she is now my wife of 20 years). I saw him get up and start walking down the stairs, around the field and over to the bench. He looked at me and said 'You better put your cleat back on and get in there. You guys need to win this game.' I told him that I didn't think that I could get my shoe back on. I didn't get the shoe back on, we tied the game, and then my dad brought me for X-rays after the game."

The Springfield, Mass., native earned his bachelor's degree in mathematical science and he has served as an AP calculus teacher in the Southwick-Tolland Regional School District for the last 19 years. He and his wife, Laura, have two sons, Thomas (14) and Joseph (13).

"I lost my dad to cancer this summer, but he was around to hear about my induction into the Downes Hall of Fame. My parents were always extremely supportive of me, my brother and my sister. They attended so many of our games and events growing up. Their passion for the game is something I will never forget and made it so much more enjoyable to play. I still play in the alumni game every year, and my parents still come and watch. Last year's game was the first one that they were unable to get to," concluded Hendrickson.

Hendrickson will be introduced by Coach Downes prior to his induction.