Herschel Pedersen Athlete Profile | BYU Cougar Club

Herschel Pedersen Athlete Profile

#36 Herschel Pedersen

Herschel Pedersen
Position: Center Height: 6-6 Weight: 205 Roster Years: 1953-1956 Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT Hall of Fame: 1985

  • 1985 Men's Basketball 

1985 Hall of Fame Inductee

Both at home and abroad, former BYU basketball player Herschel N. Pedersen was a shining star, victoriously leading teams in Denmark, Japan, and the United States.

Herschel first came to BYU in 1947, but soon got tired of the emphasis placed on sports achievements. He realized that there were many other values and abilities one should develop, and that those who excel in music, speech, or any other endeavor should be recognized as well. Especially important to him was the development of spiritual attributes, so, after his first basketball season at the "Y," Herschel left on a three-year mission.

Basketball followed him to Denmark, however, where the Danish people were just beginning to develop the sport. There, playing with other missionaries (without practicing), his team won the Danish National Championship game 82-5.

After that, Herschel and other missionaries gave up part of their preparation days to help Denmark's Olympic team, baptizing some of the athletes along the way.

Following his mission, Herschel was drafted, and played for the United States Army, first winning the All-Army Championship in California, and later the All-Service Tournament in Japan. He was named Most Valuable Player at every tournament in which he played.

Herschel came back to BYU in 1953, with a fresh outlook on the importance of education and service. Though his seemingly careless attitude about basketball at first incurred the wrath of his coaches, his outstanding abilities soon shone through, and partway through his first year back, he began starting in the games, which continued throughout this career. During the 1955-56 season, Herschel captured 314 rebounds, the second best ever in BYU's history. He had 888 career points from 1954 to 1956.

Herschel and his wife, Shirley, have nine children.