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2000 Catawba Alumnus to Fish with the Bass Masters

February 11, 2015

Category: Alumni, Athletics, Events


You might say that Catawba alumnus Tim Hawley '00 of Linwood has "gone fishing" and you would mean it in the most literal sense of the phrase. After a successful rookie debut on the professional circuit in last year's 2014 Bass Master Southern Opens, Hawley has been invited to fish in the 2015 Bass Master BASS fest All-Star event. That pro event will be held June 3-7 on Kentucky Lake and will be aired on ESPN2 the following weekend. Hawley's invitation came because he finished in the top 10 in points during his rookie season.

Hawley made his entree in the professional bass fishing arena as a Cashion Fishing Rods Pro. He will still be sporting that sponsorship in June when he competes in what is considered to be the Pro-Bowl or All-Star event of the bass fishing universe. Hawley will be one of only 144 of the best bass anglers in the world to receive this opportunity and will compete for over $850,000.00 in total prize money in a made for TV event. The winner of the 2015 event will also receive a guaranteed berth into the 2016 Bass Master Classic.

Hawley's bass fishing roots are in Salisbury, N.C.
Hawley started fishing with his Grandfather Gordon Hawley and Cousin Jason Bessett at an early age, but it wasn't until he decided to attend Catawba College in Salisbury that he set a course to live his dream of becoming a professional fisherman.

 Hawley as a
Catawba sophomore

"Being from a small town in upstate New York, I really was unsure about what direction I was going to go in after high school. I was a three-sport athlete and really wanted to play sports in college but the options in upstate New York are really limited to just Division III schools. Looking back on it now that's really where fate stepped in. I remember receiving a phone call from a family member who happened to work at Catawba. At the time, I couldn't even pronounce the name properly and knew very little about the school," he explained.

After a flight over Easter break to visit North Carolina and Catawba and meet with the football coaches, Hawley was hooked. He had found his home after high school for the next four years of his life.

Just before college, he had begun to plant roots in the fishing world.

"My parents moved to Surfside Beach, South Carolina, the day after I graduated high school," he recalled. "I still remember the look on my Mom's face when I told her I landed my first summertime job to help give me spending money for college. I told her I talked a captain in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina into allowing me to be his mate on a deep sea fishing boat.

"I'm not sure if the look on her face was because she was concerned for my safety going 60 miles out in the ocean everyday or the fact she thought I was crazy, but the look was priceless," he said.

Hawley played football at Catawba for two years before he decided to lay down the pads and pick up a fishing rod every day.

"I loved playing football at Catawba and my family loved coming to Catawba and watching me play. Though I still have a degree that I cherish very much, the day I decided to stop playing football and to begin fishing more is still one of those moments I look back on and wonder if it was the right call.

"At the time, I felt like I let a lot of people down, but after my roommate and fellow wide receiver at Catawba, Ryan Millwood '01, and I moved to a little house on High Rock Lake, my passion of becoming a professional fisherman was too undeniable. I cut my teeth bass fishing on High Rock Lake during my college years fishing out of a little john boat.

"My great friends Eddie and Justin Monroe and I would spend all year long on High Rock chasing fish. The very first bass tournament I ever won was on High Rock Lake out of a 14-foot john boat with a 25 horse power tiller steer Yamaha. To this day, I still team fish tournaments with fellow Catawba grad, now a Catawba employee, Jeff Hartley '02, from time to time.

"If it weren't for those early years at Catawba and fishing on High Rock, there is absolutely a zero chance that I would be where I am at today. Looking back on it now, it is amazing to me how the good man upstairs has placed people in my life and presented me with unique obstacles that have led me to the path I'm on today. I truly feel blessed and very fortunate to be able to do what I love at the highest level in the sport.

"My ultimate goal is that something positive and much larger than myself comes out of all the great opportunities I have had so far in this sport."

When Hawley's not bass fishing, he is working as president of National Insurance Associates, Inc. in Lexington, N.C.