BABSON PARK, Mass.—One of the most prominent individuals in the growth and success of Babson College Athletics is former coach and administrator Bob Hartwell. A three-sport head coach who also served as the department's athletics director, he was instrumental in upgrading the department's facilities in addition to laying the foundation for women's athletics programs at the College.
Hartwell, who arrived at Babson Institute as the men's soccer coach in 1967, needed just three seasons to turn a fledgling program into a regional power. He led the Beavers to a district playoff berth in 1969, their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1973, and the College's first Division III national championship with the only unbeaten season (17-0-1) in program history in 1975.
Hartwell led Babson back to the national semifinals in 1977 before stepping away from the sidelines to become the school's athletics director. He amassed a 118-34-14 record over 11 seasons and today ranks second in program history in both wins and winning percentage (.753).
A year after taking over the reins of the men's soccer team, Hartwell began an unprecedented 16-year run as the head coach of the men's swimming & diving program. From 1968-84 the Green and White won at least seven dual meets 12 times, which includes a school-best 13-1 mark during the 1972-73 campaign. Overall, Hartwell posted a 131-84-1 record and coached 12 All-America selections while having athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships in three straight years from 1973-76.
For all his success on the sidelines, which also included a one-year stint as the men's lacrosse coach in 1968, Hartwell's eight-year tenure as Babson's athletics director may be even more notable. The sixth AD in school history, he played a key role in the establishment of varsity women's programs in volleyball, soccer, alpine ski and field hockey between 1980-83. Tennis earned varsity status just prior to his appointment in 1977, and both softball and women's lacrosse were added just after his departure in 1987.
Along with his support for women's athletics, Hartwell was instrumental in the fundraising and development of the Recreation and Special Events Center, which opened in 1989 and was renamed Webster Center in 1994. The Staake Gymnasium inside the Webster Center remains the home of the women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball programs today.
Hartwell, who was part of Babson's first Hall of Fame induction class in 1991, also was a driving force behind the College's first soccer field in 1974. Today his name joins that of fellow Hall of Famer and former men's soccer coach Bill Rogers '73 on the Beavers' current complex, Hartwell-Rogers Field.