James '72, M.Ed. '76 and Hazel Block Teufel '72 establish a scholarship for Miami student-athletes
On the last day of football practice his sophomore year at Miami University, James Teufel '72, M.Ed. '76 suffered a knee injury that required surgery and put his college education at risk. James was not on scholarship at the time and money was tight. It was unlikely he would be able to return to Miami and resume his studies.
So, James had a talk with his coach, Bill Mallory '57. Bill was in his first stop as a college head coach, the beginning of a Hall of Fame career that would lead to eventual enshrinement in Miami's fabled Cradle of Coaches. Bill listened when James told him he did not know if he could continue at Miami, and the coach came up with a solution. Finding enough scholarship money, Bill ensured James would return to the classroom to pursue his passion of industrial arts. "I've never forgotten that," James says.
Nor has he forgotten Miami, where he met his wife, Hazel Block Teufel '72, in a pre-student teaching class in 1970. Following Bill's lead of compassion and generosity, James and Hazel have endowed the James R. and Hazel M. Teufel Scholarship. "We thought it would be nice to do something for student-athletes," James says. "We just can't wait to see next fall who the first person is going to be to receive this."
Each earning a bachelor's degree in education, the Teufels began their teaching careers after graduation—James at Delphos in northern Ohio and Hazel in the Dixie school system in New Lebanon, Ohio. They married in 1973. Both also kept connections to athletics. James served first as a football coach, then as a jack-of-all-trades, coaching golf, track and field, and basketball. Hazel spent several years as a cheerleading coach, first at Dixie and then later at Eaton, where she taught Spanish and English for 18 years.
By designating Miami University Foundation as a beneficiary of their estate, James and Hazel established a scholarship that will be awarded to one or more varsity student-athletes from the State of Ohio. Because their gift will be a minimum of $1 million, it is part of the university's Match the Promise Enduring Legacy Initiative. Enduring Legacy provides current scholarship support for testamentary commitments of $1 million or more, allowing the contributors the chance to see their scholarship impact now. Miami provides annual scholarship payments for four academic years in an amount equal to 5 percent of the donors' total commitment. The Teufels' first scholarships will be given in the 2018–2019 academic year.
With careful planning and consolidation, the Teufels simplified their estate starting with real estate in two states, their home in West Alexandria, Ohio, and also in South Carolina. Combining stocks and bonds was their next step. James, who took a leave of teaching and entered financial planning, saw an opportunity.
"A lot of this money was just kind of sitting there," he says. "We put it in a couple of investment funds, and they just kind of exploded. That was the second part of the puzzle. We took everything and consolidated it in one brokerage company. It's in a place where, if anything happens to both of us, it will be directed here for a scholarship. We've done some things to ensure there will be positive growth."
Both James and Hazel had positive experiences in Oxford. While James discovered Miami late in his high school years in Mason, Ohio—he originally was going to attend a school in Louisville before someone put a bug in his father's ear about Miami's industrial arts program—Hazel's path to the university was much clearer.
"My only choice," says Hazel, who was born and raised in West Alexandria, about 30 miles north of Oxford. "You're away from home, but you're close enough if you needed anything or wanted anything."
The Teufels reconnected with Miami in 2011 when James received an invitation to a football game. From there, discussions eventually led to the Teufels' gift.
"This gift is going to come in very, very handy down the road, far beyond what we can even dream of right now," James says.
The Teufels' estate gift is not the only way they are supporting Miami. The couple also belongs to the Red & White Club, which provides scholarship support to Miami's student-athletes, and James plays in the annual golf fundraiser held each summer, named for his former coach, Bill Mallory. Proceeds from the event go toward the Bill Mallory Scholarship Fund, recognizing Coach Mallory's impact on James' Miami experience.
"It's nice to play and give back," James says. "I had no idea what he could do for me, but he apparently had an answer, and it was..."
"...It was what you needed," Hazel says.
You Can Give Miami Students What They Need
To learn how you can follow in James and Hazel's footsteps and support Miami with a planned gift, or to receive more information about the Match the Promise Enduring Legacy Initiative, contact Miami's Office of Gift Planning at 513-529-1286 or GiftPlanning@MiamiOH.edu.