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Mike Hatch

The choice of Mike Hatch as the recipient of the James Horrigan Award as Athlete of the Year was not a difficult decision to make for The University of Akron coaching staff in 1972. No other senior was more deserving than Hatch, who, as a defensive back, helped the Zip gridders in 1968 through 1971 compile the best four-year record in the school's history, 31-8-1. You would expect a defensive back to be honored for his prowess as a tackler or pass defender. Indeed, Hatch had impressive statistics in these departments. During his career, this three-year letterman compiled 131 solo and 90 assisted tackles, including 65 solo and 52 assists - second on the 1970 squad. However, it was his performances as a punt returner in 1971 that he is remembered the most. In the season's opener, a 24-0 victory over Butler, Hatch returned a record breaking eight punts for 124 yards. One week later, he returned a punt 74 yards, breaking four tackles, before later calling the ball to teammate Pat Coughenour, who went the final yard for the game winning TD over Western Illinois with only 34 seconds remaining in the contest. As UA's team captain, Hatch led the Zips to four more wins and number two ranking in the college division before a bruised kidney sidelined him after the seventh game. Hatch was selected first team All-American by the American by the American Football Coaches Association. Hatch, who was inducted into UA's Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, is now the head football coach at Akron Kenmore High School

Inducted 1992 | Football