Richard A. Matz

About This Inductee

A 1969 graduate of Hazleton High School, Rich started as both an offensive and defen-sive tackle during his junior and senior years, and was selected as captain his senior year. Rich made many all-star teams his senior year, such as 1st team All-Anthracite for both offense and defense, 1st team All-Conference, A Big 33 pick, 1st team All-Central East, and 1st team Reading Eagle. Following graduation, Rich picked the University of North Carolina, but required a year of prep at Baltimore Jr. College which ended with an injury. Rich left to finish at Lockhaven University, playing in 1971-1973, graduating with a B.S. in elementary education in 1974. Rich was an assistant wrestling coach in 1974 and 1975 at Hazleton High School, and became an assistant football coach in December, 1975, until he became the head football coach in 1985. In 1991, he became the first head coach at Hazleton Area High School, who went from being the Mountainers, Wildcats, and Whippets at Hazleton, West Hazleton, and Freeland respectively, to the new Hazleton Area Cougars. Many people never gave the jointure a chance, but the first years’ team went to the Eastern Conference finals, only losing to Pottsville in double overtime. Rich touched hundreds of athletes lives’ through the years, but his greatest passion was to secure an education for his players. Hazleton High School went seventeen years without a full athletic scholarship, but this was changed. From 1988 to 1996 Hazleton and Hazleton Area football players received $2,000,000 in full athletic scholarship monies. Many others were also placed in Division II and III schools and received some other type of monies. This was his passion and it will be his legacy. Rich has worked in community services with his teams (Adams Hope, Rainbow Foundation), earning thousands of dollars for sick children. He also was a co-coach for the 1993 Unico All-Star Football Game. Rich has been a math teacher in the Hazleton Area School District for the past twenty-two years. He has been married to Emma Fox from Lehman, Pennsylvania, for the past twenty years. They have three children: Nicole, 18, a freshman at East Stroudsburg; Angela, 12, a seventh grader at Hazleton Junior High; and Richard, 7, a first grader at Drums Elementary.