IN MEMORIAM: DR. FREDERICK C. HATFIELD (1942-2017)

We at Halcyon Fitness Group are saddened to learn about the passing of one of the forefathers of fitness/wellness, one Dr. Frederick C. Hatfield bka Dr. Squat. A co-founder of the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association, Santa Barbara, CA), Dr. Hatfield was one of the people who helped shape and mold fitness and wellness as we know it today. Here is an excerpt from ISSA’s page (credit goes to ISSA):

The ISSA family was shocked and saddened this last weekend (5/14/2017) by the passing of one of our beloved co-founders, Dr. Frederick Hatfield, also affectionately known in the fitness industry as “Dr. Squat”.

We would like to take this moment to thank our ISSA students and trainers, as well as the entire fitness community for the kind words you have spoken about Fred, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your blogs. In this article, we pay our final respects to a legend, a man who shaped our industry and left behind a legacy of excellence for us all to uphold.

If you can measure a person’s life by their resume, then Dr. Hatfield (1942 – 2017) had much success. As I thumbed through the pages of his resume, still incomplete as it does not include his recent induction into the National Fitness Hall of Fame (2016), I couldn’t fathom the depth and breadth of his commitment to and influence upon this industry.

From a 30,000 foot view, Fred was akin to a rock star.

As a competitor, he won his first bodybuilding contest in 1960 and earned many additional sports honors in the years following, including the “Mr. Mid America” title (1976). In 1978 he broke three Pan Am powerlifting records and earned four gold medals in those games. He won three additional gold medals at the North American Powerlifting Championships (1979) and set the world record for the squat that year at 722 pounds. Of course, he then went on to break that record – and many others throughout the years (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986) with his famous 1014 pound squat, performed at the Budweiser World Record Breakers Invitational Powerlifting Championships in 1987, when he was 45 years old.

As a writer, Fred was the founding editor of Sports Fitness – now Men’s Fitness – magazine, which currently reaches over 7.5m readers in print and over 10.9m on Mensfitness.com. He has written more than 60 books and over 200 articles on sports fitness, weight training, athletic nutrition, and sports psychology, which have appeared in such publications as Muscle & Fitness, Powerlifting USA, Muscular Development, and Modern Gymnast.

There is a laundry list of celebrity athletes he trained, including tennis pros, baseball and football all-stars, ballet dancers, pro bodybuilders, figure skaters, surfers, boxers, karate champions, and Olympians. He was the Head Coach for the Men’s Varsity Gymnastics Team at Newark State College from 1972-1973, and U.S. Team Co-Coach (powerlifting) in the 1985 and 1987 World Championships. He was also a Guest Coach for the New England Patriots (1991) and an advisor to professional athletes from the World Wrestling Federation – now WWE (1991-1994).

He had advised and consulted for organizations such as the International Federation of Bodybuilders, U.S. Olympic Committee, West German Bodybuilding Federation, Australian Powerlifting Federation, Children’s Fitness Network, and Weider Health and Fitness, to name a few.

As a professional in the industry, Fred was the cream of the crop, a recognized professional around the world. In 1969 he was cited in “Who’s Who in American Education”. He was elected Chairman, Wisconsin AAU Weightlifting Committee (1977-1980), appointed Associate Editor of Review of Sport and Leisure (1977-1982) and Journal of Sports Behavior (1978-1982). He co-founded the International Sports Sciences Association with Dr. Sal Arria in 1988 and was the President of the ISSA until his passing.

Yes, Dr. Hatfield had an outstanding resume.

But if you were to ask Fred, he would have said, the measure of a person’s success is much more than what they have done.

A resume is a black and white list of honors, awards, positions, titles, and accomplishments. But what you don’t see on his resume are the millions of lives he has truly impacted.

You won’t see the names of his students; from the ISSA, University of Wisconsin/Madison, Bowie State College, and Newark State College – now Kean College of New Jersey, who have gone on to be world-famous personal trainers, powerlifters, athletes, and coaches.

Fred’s resume doesn’t have room enough for the names of all the people who have sought the help of his students to help them gain strength, recover from injuries, perform at higher levels, or compete in various fitness expositions.

The research that he conducted has influenced thousands of researchers since then, but you won’t see their names and the impact his work has had on them, their ideas, and the fitness concepts that have been developed based on his foundational works.

Fred changed millions of lives by sharing his knowledge…but he inspired countless others with his passion for the industry and his endless striving for excellence.

Reading his resume impressed me, but reading your social media posts impressed upon me the kind of man he really was – the flesh and blood human being behind the 24-page resume.

See, Fred Hatfield was so much more than what his resume would lead you to believe.

Throughout social media, many of you expressed a deep gratitude for his contributions to the fitness industry. It was obvious that he was passionate about his profession, but the driving factor behind all of it was his love for people.

Ask his long-time travel partner and co-founder, I’ll tell you that Fred had the same enthusiasm and passion whether speaking to a crowd of 800 in an auditorium or a group of 8 in a small gym. He simply couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the science and sport of fitness and he was dedicated to teaching it to anyone who would listen.

Many of you reminisced about having briefly met Fred at this seminar or that competition and how friendly he was, even though he was such a big shot.

You mentioned his sense of humor, his words of encouragement, his support, kindness, and generosity; how the strength of his faith was just as inspiring to you as the strength of his character and body.

You might say that if you throw a stone, you’ll likely hit someone whose life has been touched by the life of Fred Hatfield, either through his research, writing, speaking, coaching, or mentoring. Or perhaps a little less directly – through the coaching and training efforts of any one of his hundreds of thousands of students.

On a personal note, I never met the man. But I was inspired by him- by his powerlifting exploits, what he did in building the ISSA, etc. I for one will miss him. A true legend in the fitness game. His legacy will live on in people like me.

 

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