Haskins, Dennis, 1950-
Dennis Haskins was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 18, 1950. He attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Notre Dame High School, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Best known for his role as Bayside High’s principal Richard Belding in the 1990s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell, Haskins got his start at UTC, where he was a popular and very active member of the student body. Haskins reported for the student paper, acted in the Drama Club and Harlequins, served as entertainment chairman of the Student Government Association entertainment chairman, and distinguished himself as a member of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity and the Raven’s Society. In fact, Dennis was a founding member of the Harlequins, a community theater group directed by Dorothy Hackett Ward. Not only did Haskins perform in plays, he also worked as a stage manager and authored original plays, including Movement without Words, written “for the students, by the students, and free.” Dennis did not only devote himself to scholarly and acting pursuits. He also spent his time managing the local band Overland Express, who regularly performed at Yesterdays.
As the Student Government Association’s entertainment chairman, Dennis organized and promoted events for students like movies and concerts. In his SGA role, Dennis brought Ike and Tina Turner to UTC on April 7, 1973. Haskins also leveraged his membership in the Blue Key Honor Fraternity to organize an annual basketball game dubbed “Freaks vs. Fuzz” which pitted the UTC “Freaks” against the “Fuzz,” a team comprised of members of the community like the city commissioners. The proceeds of the event funded two scholarships to support the children of UTC and Chattanooga police officers. In addition to his student government, acting, and academic pursuits, Haskins was a member of the basketball. In fact, Haskins used some of the organizational skills that served him so well as the SGA entertainment chairman to get important Mocs basketball games aired on local television station WTVC 9.
Since his UTC days, Haskins has gone on to have a successful career as an actor in film and television. He started his role as Mr. Belding with Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which aired on the Disney Channel in 1988. The next year, NBC renamed the show Saved by the Bell. Known for the catchphrase “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?”, Haskins continued to play the role of Principal Belding until 2000 in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, long after the original wrapped in 1993. After retiring the role of Richard Belding, Haskins appeared in several movies and television shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and A Million Ways to Die in the West.