Franklin College DA and Swimming Coach Andrew Hendricks Earns National Recognition

Franklin College DA and Swimming Coach Andrew Hendricks Earns National Recognition

Andrew Hendricks knew his situation was unique before the online form confirmed it, but the coding snafu provided an appropriate reminder.

The head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at Franklin College, a Division III school in Indiana, Hendricks was filling out the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America form for All-America school submissions. But when he pressed submit, the form returned an error.

After a little troubleshooting, Hendricks found the problem: the CSCAA form was reading the same contact information entered in the fields for swim coach and athletic director as an error. The system was not equipped for a situation where the same person held both jobs.

Yet Hendricks has filled both roles, serving as swimming coach since 2008-09 before taking on the DA role in May 2020. As if leading a team of swimmers through a college season wasn’t enough, he l has done over the past two years while managing 19 other varsity sports and an athlete population of over 400.

“It’s the same challenges in many ways,” Hendricks said recently. “There is never enough time in a day. There is barely enough time in the day to be a swimming coach. I think most swim coaches who are good at what they do eat, breathe and sleep while swimming.

Andrew Hendricks; Courtesy of Franklin College Athletics

That challenge is one of the reasons Hendricks is one of three finalists in the 2022 CSCAA National Collegiate Scholastic Trophy, alongside NC State. Braden Holloway and Nicolas Askew from Howard University.

The Hendricks Grizzlies consistently punch above their weight, for a private liberal arts college of just 1,000 undergraduates, but aren’t exactly a national powerhouse. He was surprised when the CSCAA named him a finalist, news to which he reacted with a sense of “humility”.

“It’s really great to be in the same sentence as these other coaches,” he said. “And I don’t know if I belong there, but I appreciate it anyway.”

Hendricks’ trip to Franklin was unorthodox at many turns. A lifelong swimmer, competing from age group to Masters and in triathlon, he earned his math degree from Indiana University, having swum in youth camps led by the legend of coaches James “Doc” Advisor.

Coaching wasn’t necessarily in Hendricks’ plans, as he traveled corporate America as a director of a Fortune 500 company after receiving his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan. “I always tell people, I didn’t find this job; this job found me,” he says.

Swimming’s return to orbit came around the 2000 Olympic trials in Indianapolis. Hendricks lived in Franklin and worked as the director of sales and marketing for the Hoosier Lottery, which partnered with trial sponsor Indiana Sports Corp. long-time club manager Kurt Haas.

When, a few years later, Franklin College swimmers wanted to start a varsity team and were looking for someone with the know-how to start it, they contacted Hendricks.

With $1,500 and a contract to teach math as an adjunct teacher — and after some initial reluctance — Hendricks started the program in 2008. He’s been there ever since, with Haas as an assistant coach and a spot on the board of the Franklin Regional Swim Team, where Hendricks’ three daughters swim.

In February 2020, he became Vice President for Enrollment. It was promoted to athletic director before the following academic year.

Starting this work during a global pandemic has been difficult, to say the least. The rapid pace of change in travel, testing and logistics regulations and requirements has multiplied the minutiae of Hendricks’ department, to the detriment of overall strategic planning.

“Your time is just taken up by COVID, time that you would have spent on athletes,” he said.

On the poolside, Hendricks has sustained success. The women’s team has won the Heartland College Athletic Conference Invitational eight times, with the men winning the HCAC in 2019-20. The men’s team is also a four-time NCAA Division III Liberal Arts Champion. The school has hosted the NCAA Division III championships three times (2012, 2014, 2018) as well as this year and again in 2026.

Andrew Hendricks used his business acumen to accelerate the creation of a strong culture at Franklin. The return of 25 alumni for a recent senior recognition gathering, for example, is noteworthy given how young the program is. As a small Division III school, the Grizzlies must land athletes with certain priorities to balance academics and athleticism and certain levels of talent, with Hendricks staff rising to the challenge of coaching them over the four years. As they have established themselves, the talents they can attract have improved, but the mission of improving the place has not changed.

“We take good swimmers and we have to make them great,” Hendricks said. “You have to be a great coach because you have no choice but to fail, and most people don’t want to fail. So you hone your coaching skills because you want them to succeed.

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