Gayle Hatch
Weightlifting/Strength Training

Gayle Hatch
Gayle Hatch, Senior U.S. International Coach

Gayle Hatch's contributions to Olympic-style weightlifting and strength training are quite considerable. He has been active as a weightlifting and strength & conditioning coach for more than thirty-five years. Among Hatch's many accomplishments are memberships in both the USA Weightlifting and USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Halls of Fame and he served as Head Coach of the men's 2004 USA Olympic Weightlifting Team that competed in Athens, Greece, the home of the modern Olympics.  Only one other Louisianains has ever been an Olympic Head Coach - Skip Bertman, 1996 US Olympic Head Coach for baseball.  Hatch's club, the Gayle Hatch Weightlifting Team, has a tradition rich program that has won 54 USA Men's Weightlifting National Championships. Coach Hatch has also had athletes make three United States Olympic Teams, and 12 World Teams. He has had more than 50  athletes selected to other U.S. international teams. Some of the outstanding lifters coming out of the Gayle Hatch program include Olympians and World Team Members, Bret Brian and Tommy Calandro, and Olympic Squad and World Team Members, Blair Lobrano and Matt Bruce, as well as World Masters Champions, Walt Imahara and Chuck Meole. Hatch has also had 20 athletes selected to Junior World Teams including junior American record holders, Buster Bourgois, Brandon Baker and Blair Lobrano.

The contributions that Coach Hatch has made extend beyond the reach of the athletes he has coached. Many of the current top U.S. Weightlifting coaches say they have patterned much of what they have done after the Gayle Hatch Program including Coach Dennis Snethen of the Wesley Weightlifting Club, Coach Michael Cohen of Team Savannah. Coach Hatch is considered one of the pioneers of Olympic-style strength training in this country.  He is the inventor of the "Hatch System for strength and conditioning" and through direct contact and the ripple effect, he has helped countless strength coaches on the professional, collegiate and high-school levels reach a better understanding of explosive strength training for all athletes. His philosophies were utilized in recent years by strength coaches at LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida State, Miami, USC. These football teams won a total of 8 BCS National championships. Appalachian State won two Division 1AA Football National Championships using the Hatch System.  LSU and Miami baseball teams also won national championships using the Hatch System. LSU's men’s and women’s final four basketball teams used the Hatch System as well.  Outstanding athletes coming out of Hatch's strength training program include Heisman Trophy candidates Warrick Dunn,  Bucky Richardson,  N. F. L. first round draft pick, Anthony McFarland as well as   NBA players, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas and Marcus Thorton.

Coach Hatch has won numerous national coaching honors and is a member of the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame, the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame and  The Association of Old Time Strong Men and Barbell Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to receive the USA Weightlifting's highest certificate ranking, Senior U.S. International Coach and is the director of USA Weightlifting's Southern Regional Training Center, located at the US Sports Training Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Coach Hatch is regarded as one of USA Weightlifting's strongest leaders. In 1990 the USAW Board of Directors approved a proposal by Coach Hatch to start out-of-competition random drug testing for both national and junior national squad members. Hatch graduated from Baton Rouge's Catholic High School in 1957, where he was a record-setting,  MVP award winning, All State, All American athlete excelling in basketball, football and track.  In 2010 Hatch received the Legends Award at the finals of the State Basketball Tournament. He averaged 35.5 points and 22.5 rebounds throughout the 1957 State Basketball Playoffs setting a record double/double that still stands today.  Hatch's   37points and 24 rebounds in the State Playoff Semi-finals game is still the best double/double in the history of Louisiana high school basketball.  He is a member of the CHS Grizzly Greats Hall of Fame and the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame. On May 31, 2002, Catholic High School named its new state of the art weight room the Gayle Hatch Strength Training Center.  Out of high school Hatch signed a basketball scholarship with Mississippi State of the SEC. He lead the freshman team to a 26 wins and 1 loss record before moving on to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. There he starred in basketball and set numerous school records some of which still stand today. One of those records came in a 44 point, 18 rebound game against powerhouse KentuckyWesleyan. Hatch hit an amazing (.857) 18 out of 21 field goal attempts setting a field goal percentage record for 20 attempts or more in a game. That still stands as a school and Louisiana state college record and also ranks as one of college basketball's all-time best.  This state college record puts Hatch on a list with such Louisiana great players as Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit, and Shaquille O'Neal.  Hatch also scored 67 points in an AAU game.  Hatch is a member of the Graduate "N" Club Hall of Fame, Northwestern's highest athletic honor. In 2012, Hatch was named to Northwestern State University's All-Century Basketball Team (1912-2012).  Also Dale Brown established a basketball scholarship in the name of Gayle Hatch. The funding will come from the Dale Brown Foundation.  In 2002, Dr. Randall Webb, President of Northwestern State University, presented Hatch the school's distinguished award, The Nth Degree.  This award is presented to those whose professional responsibilities and various other roles in making this a better world are carries out to the Nth Degree. In 2004, Gayle Hatch was selected to Northwestern State University's "Long Purple Line Hall of Distinction". It is the university's most prestigious honor and recognizes former Northwestern students whose career accomplishments have enhanced the reputation of the university. Part Delaware Indian, Hatch, was inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He was selected in two categories: basketball and US Olympic Weightlifting.  The uniform that Coach Hatch wore in the opening ceremonies at the 2004 Olympics Games is part of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.  Coach Hatch is also a member of  the National Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Weightlifting Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games Hall of Fame and the National Strength and Conditioning Association Founders Club Wall of Fame. Hatch received the 2004 Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society's Presidents Award.  The presentation was made February 25, 2005 at the NFL Combine.  In 2006 LSU's Head Basketball Coach, John Brady, presented Coach Hatch a Final Four Ring for the role he played in the Tiger's great season.   At the end of the 2007 season, LSU hired Hatch as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the men's basketball team.

In 2008 Coach Hatch was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Also inducted were Louisiana Tech and NBA great, Karl Malone, NFL greats, Leonard Marshall and Aeneas Williams and Major League baseball great, Darryl Hamilton. The selection committee is made up of an elite panel of state sports media.

In 2009 Coach Hatch was selected as Head Coach for the Men's USA World Team.  The team competeted in the World Weightlifting Championships held in Seoul, South Korea.

In March 2010 Gayle Hatch received The Legends Award from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for his outstanding accomplishments in the sport of basketball.  During the 1957 State Playoffs he averaged 35 points and 23 rebounds per game for Catholic High School.  A record that still stands today.

On January 2, 2011 the New Orleans Saints and Peoples Health recognized Coach Gayle Hatch for his excellence through exceptional achievements after the age of 65.  The presentation took place during the New Orleans Saints Tampa game played at the Superdome.

In 2012 Hatch was named a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) for his unparalleled success in the field of weightlifting and strength training. The event was hosted by Governor and First Lady Bobby Jindal.

In 2012 Hatch was recognized at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indians, in a special exhibit,  " Best in the World Native American Athletes in the Olympics" which featured Jim Thorpe along with other Indian Olympians.

In 2012 Hatch was honored to be among 39 individuals featured in the book, Louisiana Sports Legends and Heroes-Leaving a Legacy .

In 2013 Hatch was named "A Legend in the Field of Strength and Conditioning" by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa). In recent years his philosophy and training system have been influential with strength coaches at LSU, Alabama, Miami and Tennessee and Florida State resulting in 8 BCS National Championships.

In 2015 Hatch was awarded the National Strength and Conditioning Association Alvin Roy Award for Career Achievement.

In 2016 Hatch was inducted into the Old Time Strongmen and Barbell Association Hall of Fame.

In 2017 Hatch was inducted into the AAU Strength Sports Hall of Fame.  

Hatch who finished his collegiate career in 1962 signed a professional contract with the Chicago Majors of the American Basketball League forerunner of the ABA which eventually merged with the NBA. After his basketball career, he came back to Baton Rouge and started his weightlifting and strength training program.

Alvin Roy was a major influence on Hatch's weightlifting and strength training career. Roy had trained Hatch as an athlete along with other noted athletes such as 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, Green Bay Packer's Hall of Fame fullback Jimmy Taylor, and all-time professional basketball great Bob Pettit. These, along with many other outstanding athletes, trained with Alvin Roy at his training center in Baton Rouge. Roy served as team manager for the winning United States Olympic Team at the XV Olympiad in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. He was also professional football's  first full-time strength coach. He installed the first comprehensive, year-round strength program for the San Diego Chargers. As a result, the Chargers went on to win the World Championship. Over the years, Roy installed strength programs for the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. After Alvin Roy's retirement, Hatch took over the strength coaching duties at Alvin Roy's Training Center. What Hatch did -- and what many had said couldn't be done -- was to add a successful Olympic-style weightlifting program in a commercial gym. But Alvin Roy's words to Hatch were to prove prophetic: "Gayle," Alvin said, "if anyone can do it, you can." The rest is history.

In June of 2003 both Alvin Roy and Gayle Hatch were inducted into the inaugural USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame.

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