Gary Haga is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of Track & Field.
He was one of the 23 members of the revived E&H Track & Field team, started under Coach David Robbins in 1976, following a period of 35 years in which there was no team. In that first season, the team went undefeated and set 2 State Records and 14 School records.
Gary led the team in scoring in the 1977 season with 67 and 3-Quarters points.
During the historic season of 1980, Haga was selected to the All-Conference First Team in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Honors for that season included an individual championship in the 1-Mile Run that added a conference record in the indoor mile with a blazing time of 4 mins 25 sec. A time that remained in the record books for 28 years – a record amount of time that a conference championship meets record has gone unbroken.
Gary was also the ODAC runner-up in the 2-mile that same day – earning him a nomination for overall ODAC Athlete of the Year Award.
That season concluded with Gary earning a spot as a post-season NCAA DIII regional qualifier in the 1500 meters – breaking the 4 min mark in the process.
Overall, Gary set nine different school records during his time at the College. In addition to his indoor mile record, he also set new standards in –
the 1-mile outdoor, 1500-meter outdoor, 2-mile outdoor, 2-mile indoor, 3-mile outdoor, 5000-meter outdoor, and Steeplechase.
For his overall dominance in track and field, Gary earned seven varsity letters while at Emory & Henry.
Gary also proved that he could go the distance qualifying for the Boston Marathon while a student. His qualifying time in his first-ever marathon was 2 hours, 32 minutes and 9 seconds at the 1980 Smokey Mountain Marathon in Oak Ridge, Tenn. A time that earned him 3rd place overall. Gary tells us that he is planning to run his fourth Boston Marathon in April 2020.
With the help and guidance of E&H staff, Gary helped recruit 25 male and female runners to form the first-ever cross country team, which competed at conference meets as a non-scoring club sports team.
As you can see, success in running continues to be a part of the story of Gary Haga. This past April, he won the USA-10 mile National Championship in the Senior Masters Division for those 50 and over.
Two months later, Gary would add victories in the 800-meter USATF Midwestern Regional and the State of Michigan USATF Track & Field Championship.
Finally, in August, Gary won the Street 1-mile National Championship in the Senior Grand Masters Division.
In his professional career, Gary has been the Head Coach for the Boys and Girls Track & Field and Boys and Girls Cross-Country teams for South Haven High School, in South Haven, Michigan off and on from 1998-2018.
His opposing coaching peers selected him as the COACH of THE YEAR in the Wolverine Conference of the Southwest Michigan area in both Cross Country and again in Track & Field.
Gary was awarded the Masters Elite Certification Coaching Award by the Michigan High School Athletic Association in 2017.
Today, Gary lives in South Haven, Michigan where he works as a renewable energy consultant.