Since receiving two degrees from Montclair State College, Larry Hazzard has lived quite a full-rounded life. Although he’s most commonly known for his work as a New Jersey State Athletic Control Board commissioner, he also has an extensive background within the Newark public school system. At Montclair State he earned an undergraduate degree in physical education and health and then a master’s degree in educational leadership. Immediately following his time at Montclair State he taught at a number of public schools in Newark, N.J., and ultimately worked his way to administration as both a vice principal and principal.
While he pursued both degrees he also spent time refereeing amateur boxing, which had been his favorite sport since he was 13 years old.
Hazzard says, “One of my earliest memories is watching Sugar Ray Robinson, one of the greatest professional fighters to ever live, and from seeing him I immediately got the bug.” This is what led Hazzard to pursue an amateur boxing career as a NJ Golden Gloves and AAU Middleweight Champion.
In 1985, after having dedicated years refereeing the sport of professional boxing, he was offered the full time position of commissioner on the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. He left the education field to pursue this honorary position and has since worked on the NJSACB to help institute the rules and regulations of professional boxing and mixed martial arts. As a commissioner he works to ensure a safe and fair competition for all combative sports.
In 2008 he traveled to China and worked alongside government officials to help develop the professional boxing regulations they use today. His work has taken him across the globe and to nearly every continent. In 2011, his lifetime of hard work was recognized as he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his worldwide contributions made to the sport, including the development of the Unified Championship Rules for professional boxing and mixed martial arts.
“Being honored by the International Hall of Fame was the crowning jewel of my time spent in the industry,” says Hazzard. “It wasn’t something I had been working towards or ever dreamed would happen but I am truly honored.”
Hazzard’s name can be found inscribed in the International Boxing Hall of Fame museum located in Canastota, N.Y. His name is alongside boxing legends including Muhammad Ali.
When thinking back to where his education began, Hazzard first attended Essex County College but then transferred to Montclair State after having many inspiring professors who also received their degrees from Montclair State College.
“I was encouraged to follow in their footsteps,” he says. “At the time, Montclair State’s Panzer school of physical education was the best preparation there was available for physical education and health students. Each time I earned a degree I felt that I graduated from a top school in the area.”
For the time being, Hazzard can be found ringside of many professional boxing and mixed martial arts matches alongside judges, referees and coaches and plans to continue working with the sport he loves most.