May 15, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Fritz Hagerman: Lasting Legacy

Fredrick “Fritz” Hagerman (September 09, 1935 – October 30, 2013) – teacher, scientist, and exercise enthusiast was known and beloved as a man of many talents, whose legacy lives on.  He grew up in Wisconsin and obtained his BA in Physical Education from the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse where he was a very successful swimmer.  Later, he attended The Ohio State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology.  Here, he met other well-known physiologists and built lifelong relationships with them.  Soon after graduating, he was introduced to the sport of rowing which changed his whole perspective.  Hagerman attended the University of Otago in New Zealand where he did his post grad research.  Here, he develped a passion for rowing and became an essential part of the U.S. rowing program.  Fritz helped the rowers with several tasks ranging from physiological testing, to different kinds of training techniques.  Fritz was hired at Ohio University, Department of Biological Sciences in 1967, sight unseen while he was still in New Zealand.

During his time at Ohio University, Fritz founded the first Exercise Physiology courses in the Department of Biological Sciences, which was the stimulus for the eventual development of Exercise Physiology in the College of Health Science and Professions.  Fritz was the type of professor that made his students want to learn more.  It was not so much about the content itself, but more so the enthusiasm he brought to the classroom while teaching.  He always made a strong point to get faculty and graduate students involved within the program every way possible.  Fritz will be remembered for performing at high levels under the three evaluated areas; teaching, research and service.   Dr. Hagerman influenced numerous people which led him to earning Ohio University’s University Professor award for excellence in teaching, five different times between the years 1973 and 1993.  He also had several long term impacts on students and faculty that have used what they learned from him to be outstanding in their respective fields. The following went on to be faculty at OU and elsewhere (many taking on leadership roles) after being trained by Fritz: Bob Staron, Tom Murray, Roger Gilders, Steve Trotta, Lori Ploutz-Snyder, Kumika Toma, Chris Schwirian, Neil Evans, Jason White, and many others. Additionally, his research has had a long lasting impact on the way U.S. rowers and international rowers are tested which gives important feedback for training.

Picture features Fritz Hagerman by computer stand and Roger Gilders (who went on to earn BS, MS, and PhD at OU under Fritz and eventually went on to Chair Applied Health Sciences and Wellness in CHSP) on far right. The woman on far left is Lori Ploutz-Snyder (who grew up in Athens, earned her BS, MS, and PhD under Fritz at OU, who is currently Dean of Department of Kinesiology at U Michigan and previously held positions as lead scientist for NASA’s exercise physiology countermeasures division and chair of Department of Exercise Science at Syracuse). The research project studied hyperoxic training (the large meteorilogical baloon behind Fritz is likely containing a gas mixture that is either high, or low, in oxygen.


With several other passions including baseball, and running, Hagerman managed to win a World Series ring with both the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins due to his contributions with the teams.  He was also in the top 10 marathoners in the United States while holding a national record in his age group for the 10,000 meter race.

Hagerman sadly passed away in 2013 but had many accomplishments throughout the course of his life.  He was loved by many and his legacy will live on forever.

Article by Kaitlyn Lyons




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