DOBSON — Local legendary basketball and baseball player and retired coach of 70 years, Richard C. Hauser seized the opportunity Saturday, once again, to play his game “his way” to a captivated audience during his induction into the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame.
Mr. Hauser, also known as “Buzz,” started as outfielder and catcher for the Westfield Wildcats from 1953-1956. He also started as guard for the Wildcat basketball team and averaged 16 points per game during his junior year and true to form brought an increase of 10 more points to the total, averaging 26 points during his senior year.
In 1955, Hauser averaged 16 points per game as a Wildcat. In 1956, he averaged 26 points per game and set the Surry County scoring record against Flat Rock scoring 53 points, making him first place in the county and fifth in the state of North Carolina. He holds the North Carolina record as 11th highest scorer.
In free throw shooting, Hauser holds the record for Surry County and he is 29/38 in free throws attempted and free throws made. He set the Surry County tournament record with a game average of 39.5.
He played baseball at Wake Forest in 1957 and defeated members of the Big Four at least once, he emphasized.
A major highlight of his entire career was in baseball and a 4-3 win over UNC and future All-ACC Pitcher, Wayne Young.
He also played semi-pro baseball in the 1950-70s competing in segregated leagues and later “together as a team,” he recalled. He talked about he and his teammates eating together in the car, rather than be separated as teammates at a segregated restaurant.
In his retirement, Hauser further emphasized his continued dedication to women’s sports and also Little League. He spoke of a time when support for young women’s sports waned as enthusiasm for men’s sports escalated. Some male coaches did not waver during this time and would find a way for women to practice somewhere, he said.
He spoke of the importance of Title Nine and how its mandate in the 1960s was important in enforcing that women be allowed to participate in sports.
“I have a love for the game, but a bigger love for the players and making sure they have the things they need,” he reminded the awards audience.
He stressed the overwhelming influence of coaches in his life.
He credited Wildcat coach, Ed Dennehy, a “Connecticut” military man, whom he called a disciplinarian, with making him the ballplayer that he became. Dennehy, he said, coronated the Westfield team with the name “scrubs,” for which they became known.
A pivotal moment in Hauser’s young ball career came when Dennehy pulled him out of a basketball game.
He “chewed me out” because I passed the ball instead of shot it. “I never forgot that lesson.” He was teaching trust saying, “basically, I trust you and you should trust yourself,” he recalled.
Coach Warren Wallace then came into his life after Dennehy left to coach at Dobson and later becoming Wildcat rivals.
Wallace was openly caring and would make sure anyone had food to eat and could play sports, a trait Hauser would later possess and ultimately remind listeners that caring for the athletes was the first priority.
In the end, Hauser was tough to pin down on acknowledging his own individual accomplishments as the successful athletic player for which he was being nominated.
Instead, Hauser wanted to emphasize the importance of teamwork and the influence necessary as player and coach to succeed.
“Everyone can achieve at a certain level as long as they have some form of discipline. I am a believer in being a doer and fundamentals,” Hauser pointed out.
He thought it wise, he said, for others to be able to adapt in sports, both as player and coach. He recommended not leaving out others.
He emphasized how the “so-called” least important player, on any given day, can turn out to be your very best at crunch time. He noted how the small things add up, sometimes, when everyone else is paying attention to the “big thing.”
Hauser’s coaching career spanned a course from 1961 until 2006. His teaching spanned a career of 44 years and his coaching 70. His teaching and coaching career began at Reynold High School in Critz, Va., and he coached the Westfield Dodgers in the Surry County Babe Ruth Baseball League. Hauser finished with an overall record of 160-31 for the Westfield Dodgers.