News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Wayside Furniture

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


Local track and field coach realizes Olympic dream
Jack Hazen brings 45 years of coaching experience to U.S. Olympic distance running team
by WKSU's GRANT ENGLE

Reporter
Grant Engle
 
Jack Hazen (far right) was named to the U.S. Olympic distance running team's coaching staff last year. His career at Malone University in Canton includes four National Championships and six Coach of the Year awards.
Courtesy of Grant Engle
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Ohio is known for producing renowned football coaches. Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer have all reached the pinnacle of the sport.

But, tucked away at a small Christian university in Canton, is a track and field coach whose 45-year career is not only unmatched, but his legend continues to grow. WKSU’s Grant Engle reports.
Grant Engle reporting

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:34)


(Click image for larger view.)

Jack Hazen, the 72-year old head coach of the Malone University cross-country and track and field teams, has had one of the most prolific careers in the history of collegiate running. Still, he was surprised when he was named to the coaching staff of the U.S. Olympic distance running team in London.

"Well, it's always been a thought, not really a goal because I never dreamed that someone from a small university like Malone would have a chance to do that. I've never worked with elite distance runners. We've had a ploe-vaulter that was the gold-medalist in Athens, but it was a bit of a surprise when I got asked to do it."

Malone competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the NAIA, a division of 290 smaller universities across North America.

Hazen’s teams at Malone have won four NAIA national championships; he has coached All-Americans and led the U.S. national team at the world championships and Pan-American games. But, Hazen describes the Olympic coaching job as “the big one.”

After going over his list of accomplishments, Hazen was quick to credit his athletes at the 3,000-student Malone campus.

"As in any coaching situation in any sport, you have to have the athletes. So, my biggest challenege from day one was recruiting people to Malone, a small school. Ad, we've been lucky to get some of those athletes. and so, I look good when they come and develop a little bit."

Most of the 20 runners Hazen will be working with at the Olympics are professionals with their own private coaches. Hazen says his main focus is to keep the athletes on their coaches’ plans. 

However, private coaches usually don’t have the credentials to stay with their athletes during the games. So Hazen will be spending the crucial final hours with the athletes before they compete in the biggest race of their lives.

Hazen’s assistant coach at Malone, Matthew Renecker, says the six-time NAIA Coach of the Year will be an invaluable asset for the U.S. national team.

"There's not going to be a personality that is new to him. There's not going to be a scenario or a weather condition that he hasn't tested himself and been through. So, when an athlete comes up and needs something he knows precisely where to go to get it. If a strategy needs to be implememented he's tried it dozens of times already."

Distance running is traditionally dominated by countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, so the U.S. team is facing a difficult challenge. But, Hazen remains confident that the runners he’s working with can play a vital role to USA Track and Field’s success at the games.

"I'm just looking forward to having some of our athletes make the podium. Distance in America has not contributed as much as some of the other events.We have the best track and field team in the world, and I'd just like to see some of my distance runners get on the podium and contribute to the medal count"

Despite traveling the world as a coach and building a strong reputation in the running community, Hazen says he has been content at a small college, and plans to stay.

"You might say I'm really loyal, or I'm really stupid. I don't know which. But, Malone is a Christian university, and my heart has really been here through all these years. I see people develop, not just in their athletic ability, but in other ways that are probably more important to their mature life and adult life later on. So, I think that's the thing that's kept me here all these years."

Hazen will resume his coaching duties at Malone after the summer games. The 72-year-old coach has not given any indication that he plans to retire in the near future.

The opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games is July 27. 

Listener Comments:

You continually get better and better; age does not tell the story of one's life. What one makes of it and those whom he or she touches does make the difference. You have touched many and made them better; you have made our University a world known place; but the best is that you are a Christian among Christians and loyal to your beliefs, your school and your students. That lives forever. God bless.


Posted by: mcook (Canton,Oh) on June 13, 2012 10:06AM
Congrats to Coach Jack! We've had a baseball player drafted by the Washington Nationals this week and now, with Coach Jack heading to the Olympics, it's been a great year for Malone. One minor correction in the article: Malone, along with several other schools who were in the American Mideast Conference in the NAIA, are now NCAA Division II.


Posted by: Lin McDowell (Canton) on June 8, 2012 12:06PM
I had the privilege of being coached by Jack Hazen in the 80's. There is no finer man or coach. He will always be part of who I am.

Marguerite Babrowicz


Posted by: Marguerite Skello Babrowicz (Spartanburg, SC) on June 8, 2012 10:06AM
Our son ran for coach Hazen. We got to know him during that period. We have a great deal of respect for him and are glad that our son had the opportunite to be aember of his team.


Posted by: Harvey Howard (Troy, ohio) on June 8, 2012 8:06AM
My son currently runs for Malone and speaks highly of Coach Hazen. He sounds like an awesome man! What an honor for Coach Hazen. Go Team USA!


Posted by: Jennifer French (Chillicothe, Ohio) on June 8, 2012 1:06AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Western Stark Free Clinic is set to close but to continue its role
WHAT OTHER DENTAL CLINICS AND MEDICAL CLINICS ARE IN THE CANTON AND MASSILLON, OHIO AREAS?

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University