September 21, 2001

Fearless Leader

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Cornell can thank its stars that Tim Hermann’s father lifted his ban on his son’s participation in football by the time the younger Hermann reached his freshman year in high school.

After seeing his son take the field, Dr. Christopher Hermann, a physician weary of the game’s high risk, knew he had made the right decision.

“It’s great how parents get behind their kids when they’re doing something they love,” the senior wide receiver reflected, noting that his dad — a man formerly devoid of interest in sports — along with his mom, has become a regular in the Schoellkopf Stadium stands.

“Both my parents come to all the games now,” Hermann noted.

And his folks aren’t the only ones who have been watching him these last three years on East Hill. The Red’s coaching staff has also had its eyes trained on the Chalfont, Penn., native.

With Cornell boasting one of the most highly-touted receiving corps in the Ivy League last year, Hermann was relegated on the depth chart to make room for the likes of the now-departed Joe Splendorio ’01, Edgar Romney ’01 and Kevin Farese ’01. But even in limited action, Hermann proved to be one of the most consistent weapons in the Red’s pass-happy offensive arsenal.

This season, Hermann will be completely out of the shadows and is projected to start as the squad’s flanker. The coaching staff is billing the senior as the go-to man in the Red’s new offensive scheme, one that features a more balanced serving of running with its traditional passing attack.

Coming to Cornell was almost an easy choice for Hermann, who lists education as his first priority.

“I wanted to a go where I could get a top education,” Hermann said, noting that he choose to call Cornell home over the likes of Penn, Brown and Georgetown.

Ivy League football would never offer Hermann a chance to share the limelight on any national stage. But that was fine for a man who had already experienced a healthy dose of fame during his high school career. In the divisional playoffs of his senior year, Hermann’s squad executed a play in the final seconds of a game that saw eight laterals en route to a touchdown return. Later that night Hermann discovered that ESPN had used the highlight during a telecast of SportsCenter and, soon after, media programs all over the country were showing the quirky play. It captivated the public so much that Hermann and his teammates were awarded one of ESPN’s coveted ESPY awards.

Though he hasn’t made any more cameos on SportsCenter, Hermann has left his mark on Cornell’s football team. He collected 414 yards on 34 receptions last year after he earned 71 yards in his sophomore campaign.

But individual statistics don’t come up in conversation when Hermann talks about his goals for this season.

“I want our guys to be the first class to win an outright Ivy title. Everyone says you play the game to have fun. It’s been a great four years, but sometimes to have fun you have to win,” he said.

Being the lone senior in the wide-out crew, Hermann relishes his natural role as its leader.

“I want to go out and help the younger guys because this game teaches you about life. I want all of them to have the same great experience I had,” he noted.

Head coach Tim Pendergast recognizes what Hermann brings to the field.

“Tim Hermann is the senior leader out there. Tim is a great route-runner, a heady player. He’s one of those guys that’s not afraid to come inside to catch the ball,” Pendergast praised.

And Hermann has clearly staked his claim as a leader both on and off the field. He was inducted into the prestigious Quill and Dagger Society and was named a Food Marketing Fellow. Hermann will also be an inaugural member of the Big Red Readers program that brings players to local elementary schools to read to children.

“It’s important to get our faces out in the community to show that we’re not just football players. It’s also good to establish a relationship in the community to get more fans in the stands because we feed off that,” he explained.

After a nasty helmet-to-helmet collision left Hermann unconscious during the Bucknell game last season, sidelining him for two weeks, he says he was more than a bit discouraged. But true to his resilient form, he came back to record the winning touchdown in the Red’s remarkable fourth quarter come back at Harvard later in the season.

“My parents were in the stands and I guess I’ll just never forget that moment,” Hermann reflected.

But this year his resilience must be contagious if his team is to take the final step toward greatness that has eluded it the last two years. And then, maybe if the Red does reach the pinnacle, Hermann will have an Ivy League Championship ring to go along with his ESPY award.

Archived article by Gary Schueller