After resigning, Austin football coach looks back on 37 years of coaching

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He’s spent a good portion of the last 49 years on the football field. He’s played it and he’s coached over 3,000 athletes, including future NFL players and high school players who never played a down of college ball.

Now Austin head football coach Tim Hermann is walking away, at least for the moment.

“I’m pretty grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had with football. It’s made me very happy to be involved and it’s made me feel great about a lot of things,” said Hermann, who recently resigned as Austin football coach and will remain the school’s athletic director. “It’s difficult to step away from football, but I talked about it with my family this past summer and we all kind of felt it would be a good thing to do. My bet would be when I retire (from the AD position) I’ll go back and be an assistant football coach somewhere.”

Keeping it personal

Hermann coached Austin for the past seven years and one of his biggest joys has been teaching players in practice and watching them get better as the season goes along. He also looks back fondly on his relationships with his fellow coaches, players and their parents.

“I’ve loved football not necessarily for the glamour of winning big games, but for the relationships with players,” he said. “I could go through a ton of kids at

Austin and say it was fun to work with him and he was a great worker.”

While Hermann was a fierce competitor as a head coach, he also sees sports as a good way for student athletes to prepare for adversity in life. One of his biggest concerns was to make sure players played the game with character.

“(Character is) vital,” he said. “I don’t think you can be an athlete and feel good about what you’ve done unless you’re doing it the right way. That’s not just me, it’s all of our coaches in Austin. It’s great to win, but winning with integrity is probably the most important thing out there.”

Using the mind

While keeping his team’s attitude in line, Hermann also brought a complicated spread offense to the Packers. In his first year at Austin in 2003, it paid off big time as the squad went 8-3 and advanced to the section title game, where it lost to Farmington.

Nate Johnson, who played on a football scholarship at St. Cloud State University after graduating from Austin High School in 2004, was a senior on that team and he said Herman’s techniques were quite effective.

“He ran practice like a college team and he brought structure and a sophisticated offense to Austin,” Johnson said. “He was a great guy to play for.”

Austin’s spread offense was unique the past two seasons as they used it to set up the run instead of airing it out. That gave the Packers’ blockers plenty of room to operate and it set up a solid rushing attack.

Hermann said the key to being a good football player doesn’t necessarily mean being the most physical guy — but being a smart player.

“I’ve always told kids that you have to fight to be intelligent on the football field,” he said. “You can’t just be a big guy that wants to hit somebody, because 99 percent of the time you’re hitting the wrong guy.”

Moving on

Six players have moved on to play at the college ranks during Hermann’s seven-year tenure at Austin.

Johnson, who was voted to the All-NSIC second team offense his senior year at SCSU after racking up 472 yards (17.5 per catch) and two touchdowns, said playing college football hadn’t even entered his mind before Hermann arrived in Austin.

“As a high school kid, I really didn’t know too much about being recruited and he took the bull by the horns. He sent out game film and he got college coaches to come to our school,” Johnson said. “Without him, I would’ve never played college football.”

In the college ranks, Hermann was part of the staff at North Dakota State when it won two Division II titles and he coached at Division 1AA Montana State. Hermann knows what college recruiters are looking for and he’s glad to play a part in helping his players find places to play after high school.

End of the road

While Hermann will no longer coach the Packers next fall, his presence will likely be felt for a few years to come. Since he came to Austin, the annual youth football camp has grown from about 30 attendees the first year to about 125 this past summer, and the varsity team’s offseason activities became more and more popular as the years went on.

Austin’s new head football coach will be chosen by a committee and will likely be chosen by sometime in March.

49 YEARS OF FOOTBALL

Tim Hermann took the field as a high school and college player, he coached on two national championship college football teams, and he coached a new football program in the Twin Cities before coming to Austin in 2003.

Here are the stops:

Here are the stops:

As a player, Hermann was a center and defensive end for White Bear Lake High School, that was ranked No. in the state. He went on to play center for St. Olaf College for four years on a team that won three Midwest Conference Titles.

1973-1975 — Assistant coach at St. James High School in Minnesota

1975-1979 — Assistant coach at Park Center High School near Brooklyn Park.

1979-1984 — Head coach at Park Center High School

1984 — Assistant coach at East Plano High School in Texas

1985-1986 —Defensive line coach at North Dakota State, which won Division II national titles both of those seasons. At NDSU Hermann coached future All-Pro defensive lineman Phil Hansen, who played professionally for the Bills.

1987-1992 — Defensive coordinator at Division IAA college Montana State

1992-2003 — Became first head coach of new program at Champlin Park in Minneapolis and led them to two second place finishes at state

“It was a great experience for all of us,” Hermann said. “Starting a program has a lot of upside but it has a lot of downside since we took our lumps in the first two years. The last eight years we were a pretty good force to be reckoned with.”

Ramon Humber, who played under Hermann at Champlin Park, now plays professionally as a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts.

2003-2009 — Head coach at Austin High School

Hermann took the Packers to the Section title game in 2003 and Austin advanced to the Section semifinals this past season after beating Winona.