David Hair will be retiring at the end of this semester, after 28 years with The University, . Hair has served as the head of the physical education department, as the head coach of the swim team and as a teacher throughout his time at The University. Hair wanted to be involved with The University since day one.
“When I graduated from college, I went and started at Lycoming College,” Hair said. “When they built a pool here, I thought to myself, ‘This would really be a sweet situation.’ So when I was offered the position and accepted, it was, I guess, a dream come true.”
Hair was instrumental in kick-starting the exercise science program at The University. Hair was originally hired to teach physical education and coach the men’s and women’s swim team. However, Hair eventually transitioned into a new position.
“When we first started, there was no exercise science. We were here strictly to teach and to coach,” Hair said. “About 18 years ago, The University decided exercise science would be a good thing to develop.”
After playing a role in the exercise science department’s inception, Hair became the head of the department seven years ago. Hair’s goal was not to just have students coast through the program.
“One of my main goals when I started was to increase enrollment in the exercise science department,” Hair said. “We didn’t have a lot of students, and we thought that there was the possibility of increasing enrollment. We did that.”
While at The University, Hair has seen numerous students come and go, and he has had a multitude of experiences. Some, however, stand out more than others.
“Certainly having undefeated swimming teams in the 1985 and 1986 seasons and having back-to-back seasons as MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference) Champions in ’86 and ’87. That was sweet,” Hair said. “As far as exercise science goes, increasing the enrollment has been something I feel pretty good about.”
Although Hair was instrumental in the enrollment increase, he also noted that he was not alone during the process.
“It was a team effort,” Hair said. “It wasn’t just me. There were a number of faculty members who worked very hard to increase the enrollment. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t say how important working with John Sanko from the physical therapy department was. We made sure our undergraduate program fit the needs of their DPT (doctor of physical therapy) graduate program. Making sure of that has made it a smooth transition for students.”
Hair also said how much he has enjoyed the teaching aspect of his time at The University.
“Teaching minor classes is always fun. I primarily taught sports skills, which is probably my favorite class.
Sports administration, too, is a good time. I like those classes because we talk about so many different topics, and we’re able to bring in experts to talk about those topics,” Hair said.
Hair is not the only faculty member retiring at the end of this semester, as Ronald Dietrick, Ph.D., department secretary Sandy Watson and assistant professor Stephen Klingman are all retiring as well. Hair noted that all of those people were enormous parts of his time at The University.
Although making the transition from work to retirement will be interesting, Hair is excited about what the future holds for him and his wife.
“My wife is retiring – she’s a teacher at Abington – so she’s retiring at the end of the academic year,” Hair said.
“We have a home in Florida, so we’ll spend a lot of time down there. This past winter was brutal. I’m excited to golf, and we’ll start swimming again. We both enjoy the beach, and I think I’ll enjoy fishing, but I don’t think I’ll catch anything.”