Hall of Fame

Joseph K. Azelby

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Captain of the 1983 football team, Joe led both the 1982 and 1983 teams to co-championships in the Ivy League. He was selected first team All-Ivy for his play in both the '82 and '83 seasons. In 1982, he was also selected second team Associated Press All-American. Up until the 2000 football season he held the record for most career tackles with 273. In 1984, Joe was drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

It is an honor and a privilege to be standing here tonight. It is also a tremendous irony to return to Harvard University, the most prestigious academic institution in the world, and to be honored for my ability to violently knock people to the ground. That's what linbackers do and I guess I did it pretty well. Harvard and football have provided me with both a lifetime of lessons and tremendous opportunities. It was football that got me admitted to Harvard. It was a Harvard education that prepared me well for life. The two combined got me a free dinner here tonight. I loved every minute I played the game of football. I cherish the four years I attended this tremendous institution. I am eternally grateful to Harvard and the wonderful people here who helped shape my young life. I beam with pride when I tell people I was a Harvard football player.

It is amazing how the years fly by. I am not a forty-year-old husband and father raising three daughters with my wonderful wife Janet. This award provides me a final last gasp effort to show my daughters Christine, Colleen, and Jackie that there was a time when their Dad was "pretty cool." I know however that no Harvard degree and no athletic award will save me from the precipitous drop in IQ and the many minor public embarrassments I will inflict on them in their teenage years.

Playing linbacker for the Crimson seems so long ago, until a night like this brings back a flood of wonderful memories of friendship, teamwork, and whipping Yale in the 100th Game. To my roommates Howk, Bones, Doley, Meady, Mack, and Woody thank you for your lifetime friendships and for being here tonight. To all my teammates, particularly the defensive lineman who kept those gaurds off me, I am here in your honor. My appreciation goes out to all the fine coaches that were led by Joe Restic and George Clemmons. You are great coaches, great teachers, and simply good men. To Alex Nahigian my first linebacker coach who passed away last year: Thank you for putting me in that Columbia game my sophomore year. It was Coach Nahigian who told me I had "the speed of a man twice my size." It took me a few minutes to realize that that was not a compliment. A very special thanks to Mac Singleton who worked with me every morning for three months to prepare me for the NFL draft. I would not have gotten to the next level without his help.

Finally, I must acknowledge my tremendous family. A heartfelt thanks to my dedicated and genereous parents Joe and Terri whose hard work, sacrafice and unconditional support made this Harvard experience possible. They put a lot of miles on that 1974 Plymouth Valiant driving to Harvard football games. As always, they are here tonight. If you check out my father's right hand you'll see the 1982 Ivy Championship ring that he hasn't taken off in 20 years. Today my parents live only one mile away from my family and we are blessed that they are such a large part of our lives. To my sister Terri and brothers Tom and Bob, thank you for always being there. I am truly blessed to have such a strong family.

This is a special night for me. To share it with my family, friends and the great people of Harvard makes it a night I will never forget. Thank you all. Well Mom and Dad, it's not a Rhodes Scholarship or a Nobel Prize but it is still pretty good for a fat kid from Dumont, New Jersey.