Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 10, 2014

Hall of Fame Hatcher

Former VSU star, coach selected to inaugural GSC Hall of Fame class

VALDOSTA — The “Hatch Attack” led the Valdosta State Blazers to the 2004 NCAA Division II national championship.

Now it has carried its architect — along with his own stellar playing career — into the inaugural class of the Gulf South Conference Hall of Fame. Hatcher was announced as one of the 10 members of the initial class by the conference Monday morning.

The first class will be inducted June 25 in Pensacola Beach, Fla., and joining Hatcher in that induction ceremony will be former West Florida athletic director Richard Berg, former West Alabama baseball standout Jeff Branson, legendary Delta State baseball coach David “Boo” Ferriss, former DSU women’s basketball star Crystal Hardy, former Alabama-Huntsville softball ace Wendy Hurst-Stewart, former North Alabama basketball coach Bill Jones, former UNA linebacker Ronald McKinnon, former UWA athletic director Dee Outlaw and recently retired GSC commissioner Nate Salant.

“For more than a decade at Valdosta State, Chris Hatcher exemplified every aspect of the word, ‘success,’” VSU sports information director Shawn Reed said in a GSC release.

As an inaugural member of the GSC Hall of Fame, Hatcher made a case both on the field and on the sidelines. While playing at VSU from 1991-94, Hatcher set 13 GSC and 17 NCAA Division II records. The Blazer quarterback also won the 1994 Harlon Hill Trophy — the Division II Heisman Trophy — in addition to being a two-time All-American and two-time GSC Commissioner’s Trophy honoree. He also was the CoSIDA Academic All-American National Player of the Year in 1994.

Based on that success, Hatcher was inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility as well as being honored on the GSC Team of the Decade for the 1990s, GSC Team of the Quarter Century and the Offensive Player of the Quarter Century.

“As a player, Hatcher transformed the VSU football program, leading the Blazers to their first-ever NCAA postseason appearance while obtaining every possible honor a student-athlete could, both on the field and in the classroom,” Reed said in the release.

Hatcher also transformed the Blazers program when he returned as coach in 2000. After a brief downturn following the departure of coach Hal Mumme, Hatcher and his “Hatch Attack” immediately turned VSU back into winners. The Blazers went 10-2 in his first season at the helm and in six seasons guiding VSU, Hatcher went 76-12 — the winningest coach in VSU history — including the 2004 NCAA Division II national championship.

The Blazers won three GSC titles during Hatcher’s tenure and he was the conference’s Coach of the Year three times, the National Coach of the Year twice and the GSC Coach of the Decade for the 2000s. He also still holds the conference record for winning percentage at 86.4 percent and is fifth with wins at 76.

“His success as a coach is unparalleled in conference history as his teams won more than 86 percent of games,” Reed added in the release.

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