NAU President John Haeger accepted his induction into the Flagstaff Sports Foundation Hall of Fame on Aug. 3 to warm applause at the High Country Conference Center.
He was inducted at the third annual Hall of Fame event for his continued efforts to enrich the partnership between the Arizona Cardinals, the university and the Flagstaff community, and for his steadfast support of NAU Athletics.
Haeger accepted the award on behalf of former NAU presidents J. Lawrence Walkup, Eugene Hughes and Clara Lovett, who began the tradition of intercollegiate athletics at NAU and who built the campus facilities and established the relationships that make efforts like the Cardinals training camp possible.
He noted the importance of the Cardinals’ presence in Flagstaff in terms of boosting the economy and publicizing the small mountain town, saying NAU takes its role as an economic driver for this community seriously.
“President Haeger early on recognized the economic importance to Flagstaff and the region to host the Cardinals,” said Rich Bowen, associate vice president for Economic Development. “He worked very hard to develop a relationship that benefits NAU, Flagstaff and the Cardinals. The Bidwill family, the owners of the Cardinals, have great regard for Haeger and consider him one of the state’s foremost leaders.”
Before thanking the Flagstaff Sports Foundation, Haeger commended the other inductees—former NAU Ice Jacks hockey coach Doug Allan, former Lumberjacks’ head athletic trainer Mike Nesbitt, member of NAU’s 1978 Big Sky championship football team Ray Smith, and former Flagstaff High School football standout David Carder. Recognizing their role as both coaches and teachers, he stressed NAU’s mission to keep intercollegiate athletes competing on the highest level on the field and in the classroom.