Remembering SU Legend Jim Hazlett

Jim Hazlett '52

Jim Hazlett ’52, a former three-sport athlete, athletics director and coach at Susquehanna University, passed away at his home in Richmond, Va., on Aug. 4.

Born on Jan. 13, 1926, in Tarentum, Pa., Hazlett played football, baseball and basketball for the Crusaders and was named Athlete of the Year in 1952. In 1966, he was named athletics director and assumed duties as the head football and baseball coach.

As a football player, Hazlett anchored the offensive line at center from 1950 to 1951 for the legendary father-son coaching combination of Amos Alonzo Stagg Jr. and Sr. In 1951, the Crusaders went a perfect 6–0, while Hazlett earned Associated Press Little All-America honors at his center position. He helped the team average 30.8 points per game and win each game by an average of 15 points. During his playing career, the Crusaders compiled a 10–2–1 record.

Before transferring to Susquehanna, Hazlett served in the Air Force during World War II and, upon discharge, went to Kiski Prep in Saltzburg, Pa., and Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa.

As a coach from 1966 to 1977, Hazlett guided Susquehanna’s football team to a 39–69–3 record over 12 seasons. The 1970 Crusaders posted a 7–3 record, won the Middle Atlantic Conference North Division and defeated Georgetown University, 45–20, in an NCAA playoff game.

Hazlett was inducted into the Susquehanna University Sports Hall of Fame in 1974. He is also enshrined in the Edinboro College Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.  

Current Assistant Football Coach Bob Pitello ’51, an SU football legend in his own right, was one of Hazlett’s closest friends. Pitello and Hazlett played together at Susquehanna when Hazlett was the Crusaders’ center and Pitello was the squad’s left guard. The pair then coached together for 12 years. Pitello reflected on a few qualities of Jim’s that made him unique and unforgettable.

SC: What’s your fondest memory of Jim?
BP: He never said a cuss word. Never. In a sport where everyone cusses, he never did. And he was well respected. Jim was an intelligent man, a very good athlete and a very good student.

SC: What’s something that you knew about Jim that everyone else may not have known?
BP: He transferred here just to play for [Susquehanna Hall of Fame] Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr. Jim loved him so much. If Coach Stagg Sr. had wanted him to dive over the bleachers, he would have. And Coach loved Jim, too, as a player and an individual.

SC: What do you miss most about Jim?
BP: We used to talk every month. We’d call each other, and every time he’d ask me, “Are you going back [to coach] next year, Bob?” Anyone who played for him or coached with him loved him. He was so dedicated to football, and that’s what made him great. He’d do anything for the game.  

Contributing writers to the Scoreboard section are Katie Meier, director of athletics communications; Justin Lutes, assistant director of athletics communications.

 



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