‘A Fantastic Teacher’

By Mike Nortrup

Dave Anderson 
Photo: Drew Weidman. Dave Anderson Photo: Drew Weidman. New Hershey Baseball Coach

If you have followed Hershey varsity baseball at any time over the past 20 years, there is a good chance that you’ve seen Dave Anderson on the Trojans bench. He has been a volunteer assistant coach off and on throughout that time.

Well, next spring, Anderson will be on the Trojans bench again, but not as a volunteer. The-48 yearold Hershey resident, a history teacher at the school, was officially hired as head coach in late June.

He volunteered as an assistant to interim head coach Al Fricke last spring. Fricke took over in mid-season after the dismissal of varsity head coach Shane Zellers.

However, Fricke, who coaches cross-country in the fall, made it clear that he was only filling in and wouldn’t coach baseball after this season.

Hershey High athletic director Scott Govern would have to look for someone else. However, he didn’t have to look long because the ideal candidate was already with the team.

Dave Anderson.

Govern quickly settled on Anderson because he had seen him in action. There were no other interviews.

“He and I have talked about baseball, and I knew he had a strong baseball background,” Govern said. “I asked him if he was interested, he said yes, and soon he was doing it.”

Anderson said his decision to sign up was not a hard one.

“My kids were grown, and in college. I was getting empty-nest syndrome and didn’t want to sit around the house all the time,” Anderson explained.

Govern thinks he made a good choice in Anderson.

“He is a fantastic teacher. I was very impressed with his knowledge base and the way he connects with the kids,” Govern said.

Anderson has spent many years acquiring that knowledge base and many years imparting it to baseball players. He began playing at the age of 7 and continued until his early 30s when he played ball in the East Shore Twilight League. He was a catcher, a “thinking position” that is a fertile spawning ground for managers and coaches.

Anderson joined the Hershey faculty in the 1990s and almost immediately gravitated to the coaching ranks.

In the mid-1990s, he was an assistant to the late Russell (Ted) Bonsall, who coached the Hershey varsity baseball team at that time.

In more recent years, he coached girls’ basketball at Hershey Middle School and was also an assistant football coach there.

Anderson has been an assistant coach in the East Shore League for the past three years and also coached American Legion baseball.

“I’ve been busy,” he said with a laugh.

Anderson said his attitudes toward baseball were influenced early by his dad.

“He was a hard-nosed guy who wanted the little things done right,” Anderson recalled.

Fricke has had a great influence on his beliefs about coaching.

“(Fricke) and I were on the same page. We agreed on the importance of the little points of the game and that the kids have to think about them, too. He has taught me a lot,” Anderson said. “He has become an important part of my coaching development over the years.”

Anderson explained that he is the kind of coach who hates to lose and will want his players to hustle and battle. He also wants them to work hard on their own to improve their game.

“It’s not what they do when people are watching; it’s what they do when nobody is watching,” Anderson stressed.

He already has a good team returning from last year, when the Trojans went 15-5 and made it to the second round of the District 3 Class 5-A playoffs. Because they are relatively experienced, he believes he can teach the players more advanced concepts, including some of those “little things”, instead of having to drill entirely on baseball’s broad fundamentals.

“I will work with them on some finer points such as covering bases, cut-offs, and when to run and when not to run. That way, we can eke out a run or two more a game,” Anderson explained.

Anderson’s boss believes that the new coach has a clear idea of what he wants to accomplish. What’s more, he already has the tools to accomplish it.

“I’ve told him to use the approach he already uses in the classroom. If he does that same thing, he’ll be a success,” Govern said.

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