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NAU Mourns the Loss of Storied Track & Field Coach Dr. Leo "Red" Haberlack

Dr. Leo "Red" Haberlack
Dr. Leo "Red" Haberlack

Former Northern Arizona University track & field coach, Dr. Leo "Red" Haberlack passed away at the age of 84 years old.

Haberlack arrived at Northern Arizona University, then Arizona State College, in 1964 when he was originally offered a teaching and coaching position. He would join the football staff under head coach Max Spilsbury and in 1965, he began to build NAU's storied track & field and cross country programs. He earned nine Coach of the Year honors and his teams won seven Big Sky Conference Championships – four of which came in outdoor track & field (1971, 1975, 1979 and1980). His cross country squads captured the conference championship in 1971 and 1978, while the indoor track & field team doubled up on championships in 1980. His 1971 cross country team placed ninth at the NCAA Championships.

Following his 18-year tenure from 1964-82, Haberlack was inducted into the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. Two of his teams (1971 cross country, 1967 track & field) also have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since. While at NAU, he served as the President of the Big Sky Track Coaches Association. An avid member of the Lumberjack community, he moved into administration after retiring from coaching, first as Physical Education Chairman and later as Associate Dean in the NAU College of Health Professions – which he held until his retirement in 1995.

Haberlack also had the opportunity to work at the international level through track clinics in Panama and Mexico City. He also worked with several Olympic runners including George Young, Billy Mills, Jim Ryan and Conrad Nightingale, who trained at Flagstaff's high altitude.

Holy Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 23 at the Norvel Owens Mortuary in Flagstaff followed by a Celebration of Life at 6:30 p.m. Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 24 at 11 a.m. at San Francisco de Asis Catholic Church. Interment will be at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, the Haberlack family suggests memorial contributions be sent to: Northern AZ Foundation, Attn: "Red" Haberlack Memorial Track & Field Scholarship, NAU PO Box 4094, Flagstaff, AZ 86011. Family condolences may be sent to www.norvelowensmortuary.com.