As an undergraduate in the mid-70s, Rick Hazlett (’77) played on the Demon Deacon baseball squad and the freshman/JV basketball team. Since graduating from Wake Forest, he has spent thousands of hours coaching children in youth sports. Hazlett currently lives in Charlotte, N.C. with his wife, Barbara. As a contribution to Demon Deacon athletics, the Hazlett family recently established a baseball endowed scholarship to support the future of the program.
When did you graduate from Wake Forest?
What was your major and/or minor?
What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
Wake Forest gave me the opportunity to compete against, and develop relationships with, kids from all over the country who each brought their diverse abilities and viewpoints to the University. While there, I had the opportunity to learn from the best professors in a quality liberal arts curriculum. We all endured a rigorous academic environment and, at the same time, had access to the same athletic experience that the larger universities provide their students. When you finish your years at Wake, you have a bond derived from that experience that I believe is unique when compared to other universities.
Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
I feel it is important to support the athletic efforts of Wake Forest so it can maintain competitive athletic programs and allow as many student-athletes as possible to participate.
Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
I was able to play baseball and was on the freshman/JV basketball team for the last two years it existed. I used what I learned at Wake Forest to get through law school and find work in a rewarding profession. I have been able to give back to the community during my work years by coaching hundreds of kids for over 25 years in various sports such as basketball, baseball and softball. I have been able to give back to Wake Forest directly through financial support and by teaching as an adjunct professor at the law school. I firmly believe my education and athletic experience at Wake Forest provided me the necessary foundation for my professional and community efforts. I feel it is important to give back to Wake Forest as a sort of “thank you” for the foundation and opportunities it provided me, and also because I hope my support will help provide others with the same opportunities I had.
What is your current occupation?
Partner at Moore & Van Allen, a law firm in Charlotte, N.C., where my practice consists mostly of finance and corporate work. I obtained a law degree at UNC Chapel Hill in 1980.
What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
From an athletic point of view, my favorite memories are starting my first baseball game on the road against the University of Georgia as a freshman when we beat them and, while on the JV basketball team, our upset of the UNC Tar Heel JV team in a game where I contributed 35 points. From an academic point of view, my favorite memory is being challenged in the economics department by some excellent professors to work hard and stretch my mind.
What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
The school does a great job of providing a top-quality education and a competitive athletic program in a small school environment. We have such a small—but similarly experienced alumni group—that whenever I need to find an attorney in another state to consult with, I always look for one with a Wake Forest connection and have always had good results.
When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Drive by Davis dormitory and point out to my family, to their annoyance, the dorm room I had my freshman year—Davis 308C—and entertain them with stories of the antics of the eight guys that lived in that suite learning to handle independence.
I was there when…
College baseball switched from wooden bats to aluminum bats (I still have my last wooden bat), and hot topics on campus included saving the winter term and whether men could go into the girls’ dormitories.
Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
My basketball coach Stafford Stephenson who treated me fairly and taught me a lot about coaching that I was able to use later when I coached. I also think highly of former football coach Jim Grobe. His efforts gave me the chance to take my family to an ACC Football Championship game and the Orange Bowl in the same year, which may never happen again (hopefully I’m wrong!).
(Please note: This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of Gold Rush.)