Gene Hardman graduated high school from St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, MN. STMA is still one of the premier Jesuit, military schools in the country. Hardman next traveled to Roswell, NM, to New Mexico Military Institute, which is the top military junior college in the U. S., and graduated with an associates degree in 1962. After NMMI, Hardman entered the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating with a degree in engineering in 1966. In 1974, he graduated with a master's degree in sociology from the University of Northern Colorado.
Hardman was encouraged by his father, Lee Roy Hardman, at an early age to play sports. In high school at St. Thomas Military Academy, Hardman lettered as a freshman in varsity football and baseball. When he graduated in 1960, he was all state and captain of STMA's football, basketball, and baseball teams. He was offered a major league baseball contract by the Cleveland Indians, but he had his eye on attending a service academy.
Hardman decided to attend prep school at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) as a means to gain entry into an academy. He spent two years at NMMI, and became the only Institute athlete to be named Junior College All American in two sports (football and baseball) in the same year, 1962.
In 1962, Hardman entered the U. S. Naval Academy and joined the likes of future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach on Navy's football and baseball team. Hardman and Staubach, still good friends, played together at NMMI in 1961. While at Annapolis, Hardman was a member of the 1964 Navy Cotton Bowl team, and was named defensive captain of the 1964-65 squad. He played third base on Navy's baseball team. After graduating from Annapolis in 1966, Hardman joined the Marines and continued to enjoy athletics. He became an avid tennis player in the Corps, and now coaches both the high school and junior college tennis teams at New Mexico Military Institute, the same school where he and Staubach started their adventure in 1960.
Hardman was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps upon his graduation from Annapolis in June of 1966. At basic training at Quantico, VA, he chose to become a combat engineer (MOS 1302) in the Marines.
In August of 1967, Lieutenant Hardman arrived in Danang, Vietnam for the first of his two tours in the "Big Pond." He joined the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and was the regiment engineer for the next 9 months. During this time, he participated in 8 major combat operations. For the last 4 months of his tour, Hardman served as Aide to Major General Van Rizen, who was deputy commander general for the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force.
After his Vietnam tour, now 1st Lieutenant Hardman attended the advanced Army Engineering School in Fort Belvoir, VA, and spent 18 months at Camp Le Jeune, NC.
In August of 1970, Hardman was on his way back to Vietnam. When he arrived, he was named Provost Marshall of Danang. Lieutenant Hardman's second tour ended with the start of troop withdrawal from Southeast Asia, and Hardman found himself at Camp Pendleton, CA, from 1972-1975. In December of 1974, now Captain Hardman received orders to the U. S. territory of Guam. He served there until January of 1976, when an attractive business opportunity led to his leaving the Marine Corps after 10 exciting and fruitful years.
In 1976 while in Guam, Hardman left the Marine Corps and joined the firm of Deak International, a foreign exchange and precious metals company. He spent the next three years running Deak's Micronesian operation, which included offices on Guam and Saipan. In 1979, Hardman was transferred to Hong Kong and became the managing director for Deak's Far East operation for two years. In 1981, he returned to the U. S. to take control of Deak's Mid-west operations out of Chicago, IL, and at that time, was appointed a senior vice president of the firm. In 1985, Hardman was promoted to the position of executive vice president and his area of responsibility was increased to include offices in the Washington, D. C. area, Atlanta, Miami, and Puerto Rico. In 1987, Hardman was offered the opportunity to travel to Australia to set up a Deak operation in the "land down under." Hardman spent four months on this assignment.
In November of 1987, Hardman decided to venture out on his own. He turned his attention to his own company, the Hardman Academy of Tennis (HAT). In addition to teaching lessons, Hardman published a tennis newsletter, Western Results, had a Prince dealership, and is a certified racket stringer. In September of 1990, Hardman was named head varsity tennis coach at Glenbrook North High School. He coached both the boy's and girl's squads. In addition, Hardman joined the staff at the Glenbrook Racket Club as a teaching pro.
In August of 1991 a new opportunity presented itself, and Hardman moved to New Mexico and took a position in the athletic department at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). NMMI is located in Roswell, NM, and as mentioned before, Hardman graduated from the Institute in 1962.
In July of 1992, Hardman was named assistant director of development at the Institute. In addition to this primary duty, he coached both football and tennis. Following the 1994 football season, Coach Hardman was named director of tennis, and now works with the Institute's tennis players year round. In 1997, Hardman was named museum director at the McBride Museum on the Institute's campus, and spends his days in the museum before heading to the courts for daily practice sessions. In 2006, Major Hardman was named Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Affairs and continues to coach the junior college tennis team.
Hardman and his wife, Elaine, have been married 38 years and have one son, Lee, who lives in Chicago, IL. Lee was a nationally ranked junior tennis player, and competed as a scholarship athlete at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL, graduating in 1993 with a degree in recreational management.