Article from Louisiana Football Magazine
Gayle Hatch - Legendary Strength Coach
Chances are most LSU fans have heard something or another about legendary strength coach Gayle Hatch. For those who havent, let me take a second to tell you about him. Gayle Hatch is based here in Baton Rouge. His primary focus is his Olympic-style weight-lifting team that competes on both national and world levels. He has placed two athletes on three Olympic Teams - Tommy Calandro and Bret Brian. His junior, open division and masters teams have won a total of 48 National Championships.
While he is very proud of his Olympic lifters, he is equally proud of the athletes who have been in his strength and conditioning program. The list of football players that worked with Coach Hatch is very impressive: Warrick Dunn, Anthony McFarland, Bucky Richardson, Major Applewhite just to name a few.
The reason so many players and teams go to Hatch is to improve, in my opinion, on the most important qualities for football - explosive strength, muscular coordination and flexibility. Hatch's program obviously includes the Olympic lifts and their assistant exercises - cleans, jerks, snatches, full squats both front and back, pulls and presses. Why is this important? Because football is a sport that is played with the total body working as a single unit and therefore the entire body should be trained in that manner. The power production of the Olympic lifts is unequaled. You must train explosively to be explosive. The flexibility improvement will come from the full range of motion that is involved in properly executing the Olympic Lifts. Timing, balance and coordination are essential with each repetition. Discipline and structure is a big part of Coach Hatch's program. LSU, Tennessee, Miami and USC have won BCS National Championships by patterning much of what they do after Hatch's strength program.
Athletes that have trained with Coach Hatch have great respect for him and are quick to sing his praises. Warrick Dunn seeked out Coach Hatch the summer of his senior year in high school. His mother, Betty Smothers a Baton Rouge police woman, was shot and killed and suddenly Warrick's role as big brother to his five younger siblings changed to that of a father figure. His approach to football also changed. There were goals and hopes and dreams of making it big at F.S.U. and being drafted by the N.F.L. Dunn continued to train with Coach Hatch each summer during his college career and his explosive strength improved each year while keeping his quickness and speed. Bucky Richardson , a staring option quarterback at Texas A&M, says he was very fortunate to be able to train with Coach Hatch. Richardson who power cleaned 381 lbs. from the floor and set a Southwest Conference rushing record for quarterbacks. He later played for the Houston Oilers of the N.F.L.
Two time Olympian, Bret Brian, who trained with Hatch for twelve years says Coach Hatch is a great Coach, maybe the best in the world at what he does. He has every quality that a coach should have and manages to impart that to the athlete. Tommy Calandro who stared in football at Tara High school and later at Southeastern says that coach Hatch made an Olympian out of me. " I didn't go to the Olympics we did. Without Coach Hatch I'm not there. Coach Hatch is not only a great coach but a great man."
Blair Lobrano who has set a number of Junior American records and made the 2000 Olympic Squad says, " Coach Hatch has a commanding presence. You respect and pay attention to him. He is constantly teaching and supervising."
Hatch's oldest lifter is ninty year old World Master's Champion, Chuck Meole. Meole points out Hatch's anti-steroids stand. Hatch spearheaded unannounced out of competition testing for the U.S.A. Weightlifting Federation. He also worked with the Louisiana Legislature to help make the non-prescription sale or possession of anabolic steroids a felony.
Congressman Richard Baker's son Brandon made three Junior World Teams under Hatch tutelage. He says Gayle Hatch is a great coach not only because he develops talent, but because he stresses a balance between athletics and values and responsibility. U. S. A. Weightlifting, the sport's governing body voted to hold its 2000 Olympic Trials in New Orleans. Jim Fox, U. S. A. Weightlifting Executive Director says the clincher to New Orleans getting the bid was the influence of Baton Rouge weightlifting coach, Gayle Hatch. "Coach Hatch has done so much for this sport", Fox said, "When he speaks we listen".
As is often the case, the contributions that a great coach makes often extend beyond the reach of the athletes whom he has helped directly. Many of the successful weightlifting and strength coaches on the professional, college and high school level say they have used Hatch's training methods and have patterned much of what they do after his program. Hatch's list of current proteges include, Tom Moffit, LSU Head Strength Coach, 2003&2007 BCS National Champions, Johnny Long, Head Strength Coach at University of Tennessee 1998 BCS National Champions and Kurt Hester, former L. S. U. strength coach for baseball LSU National Championship Baseball Teams. "Coach Hatch is one of the major influences in my life," Long says, " I started in his program when I was young and I still call him or fax him workouts. I want to see what he thinks and get his approval." Denis Snethen, coach of the Wesley Weightlifters of St. Joseph, Mo. and Michael Cohen, coach of Team Savannah of Savannah, Ga. who's teams have won U. S. A. W. National Championships say that they have patterned much of what they have done with their teams after Gayle Hatch's program.
As sports caster Bruce Weber once said, " Gayle Hatch is to Baton Rouge weightlifting and strength training what Vince Lombardi is to Greenbay football". Coach Hatch's track record speaks for itself.
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