13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
Bowling Green State University Hall of Fame baseball player Gary Haas has announced a $1 million gift to the Falcon baseball program, Director of Athletics D. Christopher Kingston announced on Saturday. The gift is the largest ever towards the BGSU baseball program, and biggest ever given to the Bowling Green Athletic Department by a former student-athlete. Pledged in part as an estate gift, the significance of Haas's philanthropy will impact the program for many years to come.
"It is a very special day when a former student-athlete makes a commitment like this," Kingston said. "Gary has always achieved at a high level and this gift exemplifies his leadership and commitment to our baseball program. It has been such a pleasure getting to know Gary and Debbie and we are extremely grateful to have them as part of the Falcon Family."
Haas has left a legacy on Falcon baseball, not only on the field, but now off the field with this gift. As part of the 1972 Mid-American Conference Championship and NCAA Regional team, Haas was a four-year standout with the Falcons from 1971-74. As part of the legacy that Haas started when he arrived on campus in 1971, the Falcon baseball program has won five regular season MAC titles, three MAC Tournament championships, and advanced to the NCAA Regionals on four occasions.
"Today is a very special day for BGSU baseball with the announcement of Gary Haas's gift to the program," head baseball coach Danny Schmitz stated. "Gary is a very dear friend, and I've never seen anybody with a greater love for BGSU or our baseball program, than him. Gary bleeds Orange and Brown, and this gift shows his love for the University and our baseball program. I'm very excited for the program, because Gary's gift will absolutely take BGSU baseball to new heights. We can't thank him enough for his generosity and support."
Haas was inducted into the Bowling Green State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. As one of the best players in Bowling Green State University baseball history, Haas served as a captain in both 1973 and 1974. He was twice named most valuable player (1971, 1974) at Bowling Green, and was a first team All-MAC recipient following the 1973 season. An all-around star, Haas was named the Defensive MVP of the Falcons following the 1972 season, and the Offensive MVP following the 1973 campaign. A four-time Academic All-MAC first team selection, Haas was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American following the 1973 season. He is currently fourth in school history with 442 assists from his shortstop position.
"Today's gift is to benefit the program," Haas started. "Danny (Schmitz) has done a great job with this program, and I want to be able to help out in any way I can. I'm hoping this gift sets a standard for future student-athletes to give back. I wanted to give this gift to help the baseball program, but I want all student-athletes to remember their time at BGSU and give back once they are successful in their careers."
The gift from Haas comes on the heels of the announcement in early February of the baseball program's first-even permanent clubhouse. Facility improvements across athletics, and with the Falcon baseball program, will continue to be advanced with the generosity of Haas. With the continued success of the BGSU baseball program, which is coming off the 2013 MAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Regional appearance, Haas's gift shows the continued commitment towards the baseball program from BGSU Athletics.