Matt Hasselbeck has been a staple in the NFL, leading the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL and serving as backup for three other teams. Now, at 40 years old, Hasselbeck is making his biggest impact yet. He is 4-0 this season as starter in place of Andrew Luck, and is the reason the Colts are staying afloat in the AFC South playoff race.
In all his 17 years in the league, he has never been alone. He met his wife, Sarah, while they were athletes at Boston College. Together they have moved across the country, started a family, and donated hours and dollars to a multitude of charitable efforts.
Here’s what you need to know about Sarah:
1. Matt Copied Sarah’s Class Schedule to Ensure They Would Meet
Is this even romantic?
To ensure he would have at least one pretty girl in his classes, young Matt copied Sarah’s course schedule during registration. He wasn’t just creeping on some girl. Egnaczyk chose Boston College, after being heavily recruited for her skills as a field hockey keeper. She turned down offers from Northwestern, UConn, and Wake Forest among others, and was also pursuing a business degree.
So Matt pursued a business degree. Good thing he broke the ice, because it’s hard to believe he’d keep up with his future wife. Egnaczyk graduated summa cum laude in 1997.
2. U.S. Field Hockey Invited Sarah to Play For Team USA
As a high school senior, Egnaczyk recorded 13 shutouts and allowed nine goals for her entire senior season. She was awarded All-State honors, and decided between Wake Forest and BC for her collegiate career.
As an Eagle, she was dominant. As a co-captain in her junior season, she led the Eagles to their first-ever Big East championship. She was an All-American her final two seasons, and set records for career wins, saves, and shutouts.
While she was at school, Egnaczyk appeared several times for the U.S. Junior National Team. She also participated in the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1995, and was an alternate for the 1997 U.S. National Team.
She was elected into the Boston College Hall of Fame in 2002.
3. Sarah & Matt Have Three Children
The couple have been married for 15 years now, and started their family during Matt’s time in Seattle. There are three of them now, and all three love watching their Dad play. Annabelle is the oldest at 14, Mallory is 12, and Henry is 10. In speaking with them recently, Hasselbeck realized something about his kids’ life.
“..There was a point, maybe last year, where they asked me: ‘Have you ever run a touchdown?
“It kind of occurred to me that they didn’t remember anything I did in Seattle or anything I did (in Tennessee),” Hasselbeck said earlier this week. “They really get psyched (now) for our games. (So) it’s fun for me to see how excited they get when I play.”
4. The Couple Have Done Incredible Charity Work
Few, if any, active NFL players make more time for charity than Hasselbeck. It started when he was in college, when he took a spur-of-the-moment mission trip to Jamaica. The group traveled to Kingston, where they worked in a home for lepers. The trip changed Hasselbeck, and he returned to BC dedicated to helping others.
Two decades later, the Hasselbeck family is constantly raising money or awareness for a worthy cause. Most recently, the family has become active with Charity: Water, an organization that helps to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Last year, Matt and the entire family went to Malawi, to work with the organization in a remote African village. The village held a parade for the family when they arrived , and gifted them a live chicken when they departed. For the Hasselbecks, the experience was a bigger gift to them than what they were providing. And when speaking with reporters about it, you can tell that Hasselbeck is passionate about making a difference.
“It’s just hard not to do something,” Hasselbeck. “Whether it’s (trafficking) or the orphan problem around the world. There’s 139 million orphans around the world. That’s way too many. There’s actually human trafficking. It’s not something that’s fun to talk about. But how can you not do something? And what’s awesome to see is that we’re making progress. I mean, the big thing is that people just don’t know. That was a big thing for me. I just didn’t know.”
5. Sarah Gives Great Advice to New NFL Wives
While in Seattle, Matt and Sarah received great support from Seahawk families past and present. They were invited to dinners and Bible studies with other families, and it helped ease the cross-country transition for the couple.
Matt’s rookie season was in 1999. For comparison, Andrew Luck’s girlfriend Nicole Pechanec was nine. It’s safe to say that there’s a new crop of NFL wives, and Sarah recently shared her advice for them.
If I were to give advice, I’d say:
1. Be community-minded and be excited to meet people from all different backgrounds. I have loved being a part of the NFL for so many years. There are a lot of cool, interesting, smart, fun girls from all over the country who I have had the chance to meet. They come and go from each city, but I have made so many great friends in this league.
2. NFL wives are resilient, even during the hard times. Get involved with these women and they will be there when things get hard.
3. NFL teams offer great opportunities to be involved in the community. Don’t be intimidated by charities trying to connect with you. You are not necessarily expected to give massive amounts of money. Sometimes, giving time is even more beneficial than giving financially. Being a part of local charities will help you connect to the community in which you’re living – which is ultimately the biggest win. Being a part of charities is also a great way to learn how to be charitable – and that is never a bad thing. Because of your connection to the NFL, you will get to be intimately involved in just about any charitable organization. You will get to see how the organization is run and you’ll get to take part in their fun activities. You will see the best of what is successful.