Hendrickson Next Billikens Baseball Coach?

Darin Hendrickson would often be driving back to the Forest Park Community College campus on highway 40 after throwing batting practice for the St. Louis Cardinals at the old Busch Stadium when he would pass the Saint Louis University campus.

The Granite City (Ill.) native, who at the time was the baseball coach at Forest Park Community College, would drive past the campus and think about the possibility of one day taking over the Billikens baseball program as its coach.

"It always crossed my mind," Hendrickson said. "As many times as you could imagine. It crossed my mind a lot."

It looks like Hendrickson, 38, could get that opportunity very soon.

The Central Missouri State coach was on campus on Friday to interview for the position and confirmed on Friday night that he was in negotiations to become the Billikens' next coach.

"Central Missouri is a great place," Hendrickson said. "It's a tough place to leave. Saint Louis U. is an even better situation. It could be a sleeping giant."

Earlier in the week sources told BillikenReport.com that Hendrickson has been offered the coaching position at SLU.

The school conducted phone interviews with several candidates, including Vianney high school coach Steve Bieser and Southwestern Illinois College coach Neal Fiala, and brought University of Missouri assistant coach Tony Vitello to campus for an interview this week.

Hendrickson was on vacation in Florida with his family and was expected to visit Saint Louis University on Friday. He said he was staying in town until Monday.

"I think the university is moving in the direction it needs to be headed in," Hendrickson said. "I think it could be a great situation."

Hendrickson has been the head coach at Division II Central Missouri State for the past four seasons and compiled a record of 209-46 in Warrensburg.

He was a pitcher at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and earned bachelor's (1992) and master's (1995) degrees at the Metro East school.

Hendrickson was an assistant coach at SIUE for three seasons before spending four years as the head coach at Division III Fontbonne College and then four years at Forest Park Community College.

The job opened when Bob Hughes resigned recently after 19 years as the Billikens coach due to health reasons. He was SLU's longest tenured coach and racked up 361 victories. In 2006, the Billikens won a school-record 32 games, won the Atlantic 10 tournament championship and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 40 years.

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