Former Falcon star Haas gives to baseball program (05-12-14) PDF Print E-mail
Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Sports Editor   
Monday, 12 May 2014 07:38
Gary Haas (right) talks with Falcon baseball coach Danny Schmitz (left) as BGSU athletics director Chris Kingston watches. (Photo courtesy BGSU Athletics Communications Office)
Bowling Green’s baseball team moved another step forward off the field Saturday afternoon.
And the Falcons will eventually benefit on the field, too.
Former Falcon star Gary Haas — a member of the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame —donated $1 million to the BG baseball program.
The Perrysburg resident’s donation was announced prior to the Falcons’ game against Ohio at Steller Field.
The gift is the largest ever for the baseball program and is the biggest ever given to the athletics department by a former athlete.
“I worked hard for what I’ve got and now it’s time for me to give back,” said Haas, a four-year standout shortstop for the Falcons from 1971-74.
He was a member of BG’s Mid-American Conference championship team and NCAA regional team in 1972. The team fell one win shy of advancing to the College World Series.
“Today, I’m setting the standard for other student-athletes and students in general to give back,” Haas said. “I’m hoping other athletes and students will step up and give back, whether it’s baseball or other sports. We all need to give back, whatever the amount might be.”
What Haas’ donation will be used for is still being determined. Among the priorities are an artificial turf playing surface and adding a brick façade to the outside of Steller Field.
“The program has been successful for a long time and this will take it to another level,” Haas said. The 66-year-old still is a regular attender of BG’s home games.
Haas, an Eastwood High School graduate, retired in December 2012 after almost 43 years at Rudolph/Libbe.
After earning a degree in business administration from BGSU, he spent 17 years in the company’s accounting department in various positions.
From there, he became the head of project management, and was then put in charge of field operations. He retired as the vice president of contract administration.
“I couldn’t afford to go to college,” said Haas, who was an Academic All-American with the Falcons. “That scholarship from BGSU gave me a good, solid education that allowed me to get into the business world.
“That enabled me to be successful and allowed me to have what I have now. I’ve been very successful and that’s created the opportunity for me financially to make this gift. My four years at Bowling Green were the four best years of my life, and it’s been great to my family. And when I come back, I’m still treated like family.”
BG has won five regular-season MAC titles, three MAC tournament titles and advanced to the NCAAs four times.
“Words can’t express our gratitude,” said BG coach Danny Schmitz, who is in his 24th season.  “He’s inspiring to so many people. I’ve known Gary for 24 years, he’s a dear friend and he’s always talked about his love for Bowling Green State University and this program.
“It’s one thing to talk about it and it’s another to act on it, and what he did today is just going to help our program tremendously. It’s going to make our program jump leaps and bounds.”
Earlier this year, the BG locker room in the Ice Arena was renovated into a state of the art facility.
Among the other items on the BG wish list is the upgrading of the coaches salaries which rank in the bottom half of the MAC; and restoring the program to the NCAA maximum of 11.7 scholarships.
BG is approximately three shy of the maximum.

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