116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WAVERLY — Waverly-Shell Rock has its next baseball coach.
B.J. Hermsen, a former West Delaware standout and sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, has accepted the position, pending W-SR School District Board approval.
Hermsen, 31, replaces longtime Go-Hawks coach Casey Klunder, who resigned in July after being named the head coach at Central College in Pella.
“Obviously, following in (Klunder’s) footsteps, there’s some big shoes to fill,” Hermsen told Waverly Newspapers on Monday morning. “But I’m looking forward to that challenge. Everything has kind of sank in a little bit more, but obviously there’s still work to do.”
Hermsen interviewed for the position Wednesday, was offered the job Thursday and accepted it Friday.
“We had a competent pool of candidates, and we’re happy with our option,” W-SR athletics director Greg Bodensteiner said. “We chose BJ given his … not only his coaching, but his playing history. And I like the fact that BJ was a kid that was an incredible high school quarterback, was a good high school basketball player and a really good baseball player, and all those things are things that are valuable to our athletics department. He was not only a great candidate, but a living example of what we strive for in our athletics department.”
A 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher, Hermsen made his minor league debut in 2011 the Gulf Coast League, where he went 13-8 in 25 starts, splitting time between Low-A and High-A. He struck out 101 and walked just 37 in 151.1 innings pitched. He advanced to AA New Britain of the Eastern League in 2012, where he posted a record of 12-6 with a 2.88 ERA.
He underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2015 and missed that entire season. The Twins informed him they would not be re-signing him at the end of the season. Hermsen attempted a comeback and earned a tryout with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was put on standby in case they needed an outside arm due to injuries, but, Hermsen said, “that call never came.”
“At some point, it gets to a point where it’s time to move on and get to other things,” he said.
Hermsen served as a volunteer assistant baseball coach for West Delaware’s varsity team in 2015 and ’16 before moving to Waverly. He has been an assistant boys’ basketball coach since 2016.
“I had some conversations with some people that I respect their opinions and whatnot, and obviously one of those people is my wife (Karli) and just making sure that she’s good with that decision, and obviously with a family now, you have to take those things into consideration,” Hermsen said. “Once I figured out that this is definitely something I want to look forward to and pursue, that’s when we moved the needle a little bit.”
Hermsen, his wife, and son, Kayson, moved to Shell Rock last November.
Hermsen plans to fill a couple more assistant coaching positions within his program. From early talks with current assistant coaches Malcolm Newell and Ryan Willis, Hermsen believes both will be back for the 2021 season.
As he dives into his new job, Hermsen plans to continue to expand the blueprint Klunder built.
“I know Casey put a ton of time into this program and into this community, and that’s something I always admired about him,” Hermsen said. “But, at the end of the day, I know I can’t be the next Casey Klunder, either. Continuing some of the principles that he had, just making sure guys are always hustling, playing hard, playing Go-Hawk baseball and making sure we keep this thing moving in the right direction. Casey built a foundation that we want to continue to work off of, and that’s what we’re going to do.”