By RIVES KUHAR
Last Friday, Jan. 20, Edward Hegmann, athletic director for the University of Mary Washington, announced that he would retire after 36 years at UMW.
Hegmann was hired as the Athletic Director, Intramural Sports Director, Chair of the Physical Education Department, and the head coach of men’s basketball and women’s tennis.
According to Hegmann, he did not initially believe he would remain at UMW for as long as he did.
“[I was] very lucky to have that kind of job for so long,” Hegmann said.
He led women’s tennis to three Division III National Championships, which were the highlights of his career.
Hegmann stopped coaching women’s tennis in 1999.
“It’s just not the same, I miss that terribly,” he said thinking about coaching tennis on the rare, warm January days.
Nick Shepherd, a UMW soccer player, sates that Hegmann always has been an “all around good guy” who consistently walked on campus and greets people.
“You don’t see too many teachers or coaches doing that. He took time to know his student athletes,” Shepherd said. “Hegmann has always been interested in the whole season and wanted to keep our academic grades up.”
While a scarf with the phrase “Stand Your Ground – Welcome To The Battleground” hangs on his office wall, Hegmann describes his pride in overseeing the renovation of the Battleground Athletic Complex and the Anderson Center.
Hegmann is also honored that his former athletes, now graduated, continue to call him “Coach.”
Moving ahead, Hegmann looks forward to his options. Considering himself as a “real competitor,” he is excited to now concentrate on his hobbies. Instead of the 13 hour workday, Hegmann will travel down south for warm weather, collect and sell antique racquets, renovate antiques, bike and possibly teach tennis lessons. Hegmann even treats woodworking, something therapeutic, similar to his coaching. He sees an old wooden chair just as a new athlete: rough around the edges but capable of magnificence.
After watching UMW’s tennis players one afternoon, Don Paitrick, now UMW’s Indoor Tennis Director, asked, “Where the heck is the University of Mary Washington?” Once meeting Hegmann, Paitrick knew the athletes were a reflection of their coach. After seven years of working together, Paitrick states that he will miss Hegmann’s experience, sincerity and mostly, devotion.
“I think we’re all gonna miss that. Whoever replaces him, it’s going to be a tough call,” Paitrick said. “We hope they have the same dedication. Anytime anyone retires of Hegmann’s status, it’s always difficult. You never really replace that particular person, it just change course and goes into another era.”
“It was time,” Hegmann said about his decision to retire. Although leaving, Hegmann hopes UMW will continue to be involved and realize that, “Athletics—and—successful athletics is important to the life of the university… all students like to take pride in where they go to school.”