BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hall of Fame weightlifting coach Gayle Hatch of Baton Rouge said his most recent honor may just mean more to him than any, after he was presented the Alvin Roy Award for Career Achievement earlier this month in Orlando, Florida.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association honor is named for Hatch's mentor, who tutored him sixty years ago, when Hatch was a standout prep athlete at Catholic High.
"As a young, gangly colt back in the 50s, I started working with Alvin along with such greats as Billy Cannon, Jimmy Taylor and Bob Pettit," said Hatch as he listed three of LSU's most famous Hall of Famers.
The Team USA Head Coach for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece has produced Olympic weightlifters and national champions in his favorite sport, but football champions have been a bi-product.
"Alvin Roy was the first strength coach in the NFL," Hatch recalled fondly.
And the student, who is now 76 years young, has followed suit, producing another generation of strength coaches at the college level. Those same coaches have had a hand in more than half of football's BCS National Championships at places like Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Florida State.
"Paul Dietzel told me many times that he gave a lot of credit for the 1958 National Championship to Alvin Roy because LSU's players were smaller, but they were stronger than the other teams," said Hatch.
The "Hatch System" is made up of Olympic lifts, connected exercises and basic strength movements.
"Out of 15 years of the BCS, I had my proteges win eight national championships," said Hatch, who tutored LSU's Tommy Moffitt when he was just starting out at John Curtis High School in the New Orleans area.