When Tom Hauck graduated from San Diego State University with a finance degree in 1989, he never would have imagined that one day he would rub elbows with some of the greatest athletes in the world, capturing history through the lens of his camera.
Following a year of horrible interest rates and a real estate market slump, Hauck was forced to take a hard look at his career path as a commercial real estate broker. Though not ideal, it was an opportunity that not many get, to truly ask what it is they want to do.
Hauck had always loved sports and first investigated becoming a PAC 10 referee. But when he learned it took about 20-years to even come close to refereeing a game at the college level, Hauck pivoted yet again into the world of sports photography.
“I taught myself photography through trial and error, found my way onto some football fields and discovered that you need credentials,” said Hauck. “Once I connected with a couple of publications that provided me with access, and got assignments, it was kind of a baptism by fire and grew into it.”
Hauck learned more and more on the job and ended up landing a position at Getty Images as a staff photographer, where he took on assignments shooting every major sport and continued to hone his craft. From there, Hauck evolved into the sports photographer he is today, now working 150-200 sporting events a year, including Super Bowls, World Series, Olympics and beyond.
Of all the memories, though, Hauck can immediately point to one of his favorites. As an avid Green Bay Packers fan, Hauck was fortunate enough to shoot his team winning Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. As he fought the throngs of other photographers after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, he found himself next to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In a full-circle moment, Hauck was able to witness Rodgers, whom he had photographed and interacted with during his college days at Cal Berkeley, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high above his head.
Hauck will be the first to admit, though, that with all the incredible moments comes a lot of hard work.
“Working at Getty I learned that there’s a lot of people out there that are very good at this,” said Hauck. “I got to look over shoulders of people editing their work to see what they were capturing and how they accomplished it.”
Hauck has had the privilege of seeing some of the most incredible moments in sports history that others merely dream about. Hauck is grateful for all these opportunities and the chance to continue to capture great athleticism from the best “seat” in the house.
With each passing year, Hauck is able to dedicate himself to his passion, a testament to taking a chance, resourcefulness, perseverance and good fortune.