Legendary high school baseball coach Herkelman dies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Legendary high school baseball coach Herkelman dies

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Bill Herkelman, known as "Herk" was a baseball coach at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids for more than thirty years.

He suffered a stroke and died Friday at the age of 77.

The current head coach, Bret  Hoyer tells us Coach Herk was an assistant baseball coach from the day Kennedy opened it's doors in 1968.

He became head coach in 1977 and was very successful, winning 5 metro tournament titles and 2 conference championships, as well as making multiple appearances with his teams at the state tournament.

He is also a member of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) Hall of Fame.

After taking a little time off from coaching, Herk rejoined the Kennedy Coaching staff in 2004 as a volunteer assistant and remained there.

Coach Herkelman was also a teacher.

The former baseball players we talked to weren't sure which was better, Herk as a teacher, or as a coach.

 "He did it all pretty much, he was a man of many talents I mean he loved baseball but he really touched a lot of people in the classroom too so I mean his, legacy is felt through everyone," said Cody Bell, a former player.

We were told everyone has a Herk memory.

"Whenever we'd be chewing sunflower seeds, he would always look at us and be like, those are for the birds," said David Yancey, a former player.

 "I mean at 75 he always came out, had a great attitude and he hit fungo for us everyday and he was always the first one out here to set up the pitching machines," said Bell.

Coach Herk was at the Kennedy baseball field last year, as the field was dedicated to him and officially named Herkelman Field.

 "I'm glad it's named after him because his memory will always be here and that's important because he's kind of the foundation of Kennedy baseball, when you think of Kennedy baseball the first name that comes up is Herkelman," said Yancey.

Love for Herk has been expressed all over social media, and his number 29 currently remains lit up on the scoreboard.

Players have written messages for him on baseballs and left them at the field, along with flowers and pictures.

One thing is evident, he is loved and will be greatly missed.

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