Haggerty retires as Hamilton athletic director

Leo Martonosi

Jerry Haggerty has made a lasting impression on many people during his time as athletic director at Hamilton High School.
One such individual is Loren Joostberns, longtime Hamilton historian and official scorer at many Hawkeyes athletic events.
“The best compliment to pay to Jerry is to simply say he always wanted things done the right way,” Joostberns said. “But that is only possible because of the level of work and organization that takes place behind the scenes.
“We never had to worry about things being ready for a game. I was told many times by game officials and other schools the level of respect there is for Jerry. He has been a tremendous asset for Hamilton athletics these past 16 years.”
Haggerty, 54, a 1979 graduate of Wyoming Park High School, has decided the time is right to step away from his duties at Hamilton and recently announced his retirement.
“I loved it here,” Haggerty said. “It’s just time to move on.”
Haggerty, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in 1983, collected his teaching certificate four years later.
“I didn’t play college sports but became a distance athlete, competing in many triathlons for about five years,” Haggerty said.
Before coming to Hamilton, Haggerty taught at Wayland for four-and-a-half years and at Wyoming Park for six-and-a-half years. He taught biology, physical science and advanced-placement biology as well as anatomy and physiology.
Hamilton was Haggerty’s first and only AD job. He also coached football, basketball and track for the Hawkeyes.
Haggerty set high standards at Hamilton.
“We maintained a program that focused on educational athletics,” he said. “We did it by the rules and with integrity. We never waivered on that. During my 16 years we expanded the athletic program to include soccer and swimming.
“We also added some sub-varsity teams and for 10 years added middle school “B” teams, which were cut during the budget crisis four years ago.”
Haggerty has several fond memories from his AD days at Hamilton. The late-game football victory over Caledonia in 2005 was one of them.
“Senior quarterback Danny Saenebouttarath led us down the field to score with 26 seconds remaining and Dustin Wilson powered in the 2-point conversion to get the win,” he said of that game.
Caledonia went on to win the state championship in Division 3 that year, which made the victory that much sweeter.
The boys’ track state championship in 2009 also meant a lot to Haggerty.
“There were great individual and relay performances to win the championship,” Haggerty said. “Seeing Troy Sneller win the state title in the 300 hurdles was unbelievable. He was just a committed and hard- working student-athlete who paid his dues, got better every year and ended up winning the state championship.
“The girls’ cross country state runner-up performances in 2010 and 2011 were unreal. We went from almost canceling the cross country program in 2007 to being state runners-up three years later. It was fun to see that program turn around and excel.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the July 7 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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