Master and apprentice: Deem, Hasty on opposite sides at Boyle County, Lincoln County

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2018

Brian Deem started coaching softball at Boyle County in 2012.

His first team had growing pains, starting the season 7-8. The Rebels had to learn a new coach, and he had to learn a new team.

Heather Hasty was a junior that season and helped turn the season around, finishing the year 26-5 — including a 12th Region title and three wins at the state tournament.

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Now, Hasty is the head coach at Lincoln County, where the Patriots have started the season 4-9 in her first year at the helm.

She said that Deem was a huge influence in her two years with him at Boyle and continues to be an influence today.

“When anyone asks me who the most influential person on me is, I say it’s coach Deem,” Hasty said. “Just because of the standards that he instilled. He held me to a certain standard that I feel like no one else did. That’s what I’m trying to carry over to these girls. He definitely knows what you’re capable of and expects it every single time. You know you can’t have a shortfall because you know you’ll have consequences for that. I love that, I love being held to that type of standard.”

Hasty started in 2012 and 2013 for the Rebels behind the plate and continued her catching career at the University of Pikeville. She finished there and then received a call about coaching.

“I love the game. I just got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t as involved as I once was,” she said. “So I was contacted about coaching, I knew I loved the game and I missed it, so when I was contacted about coaching, that’s when I felt like that opportunity was there for a reason, and this is where I am.”

She’s in frequent contact with Deem, who said that he can already see her personality rubbing off on her team. Boyle defeated the Patriots 7-3 on Thursday in the first matchup between master and apprentice.

“It’s 7-1, we have runners at second and third, and her kids didn’t quit. And they come back in the sixth and score two. That right there sums it up for you,” Deem said. “If they’ll follow what she’s doing, take on her personality, she’s a fighter. And she’s a winner. In the two years I had her, I saw that kid go through a grind, sit there and catch 40-some games two years in a row and refuse to be taken out. She’s a winner, and if they take her personality, she’ll be able to do great things with them.”

Hasty said her first year as head coach has been challenging but has tried to implement some of Deem’s teaching to her own.

“It’s kind of neat, coming from how he coached me and trying to take those tactics and use them to my own advantage,” Hasty said. “But it’s definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be.”

The real question — is she as loud as Deem?

“I’m definitely not,” she laughed. “That’s one thing I realized at the beginning, we have two totally different personalities. I wish I could be as hyped up as he is all the time. I wish I could yell at some of these girls. I tried that approach at the beginning but it just wasn’t me, that’s not how I am. I’m a lot more passive-aggressive.”

Her coaching style is about holding players accountable, similar to how Deem instilled that value in her as a player.

“I told the girls straight up, I’m not the type that is going to yell down your throat. But there’s consequences for the mistakes that you make,” she said. “I’ll get them on the line. We’re running for it. If you make a mistake at practice, give me burpees. We have more physical punishments because I’m not the type to get down on someone, in their head mentally. They know what to expect with that.”

Hasty has been everywhere for the Rebels, winning back-to-back region titles in 2012-13 as a junior and senior. She won 135 games in her career at Boyle, playing up as an eighth grader.

She said playing so much as a catcher has helped her as a coach, because she could see the entire field from behind the plate.

“As a catcher, I was always vocal,” Hasty said. “I was always loud. It’s kind of awesome because you’re behind the plate, you get the whole view of everything and you’re in charge of it. I feel like in a way that has helped when I transitioned into coaching, because as a catcher, you’re kind of the coach on the field in a way.”

Deem said her knowledge and love of the game are what will carry her as a coach.

“When a male coach is coaching females vs. when a female is coaching females, there’s different dynamics that go on there,” Deem said. “I’m just a naturally loud person, I’ve always been that way, I’ve always coached that way. I think what’s going to be best suited for her is to be true to who she is and hold firm with her values and her platform.

“If she does that, I think those who want to be a part of something special will stick around. I think that’s what she has going for her and what she will have in her future. Because she has the passion, she has the drive. She can really take that program to another level if they’re willing to change a culture … She was a part of that when I took over. She saw what it takes to have to change a culture. It’s not something that happens overnight and it’s not something that happens in a couple years. It’s going to take her some time.”

One of the biggest challenges moving to a head coach is the administrative duties — something Hasty has already learned.

“Her and I talked. We talk quite a bit, I bet we talk at least two or three times a week,” Deem said. “I just told her, ‘it’s a different beast from being an assistant to being a head coach.’ There’s more planning, in-game strategy, practice preparation, how to get your kids better when you see them struggle in certain situations. Then you’ve got the administrative part, dealing with the paperwork, the bus requests, your budget, fundraising, your booster club. It can be overwhelming. I just told her, she’s got to take it day by day and she won’t move mountains in the first two, three weeks. But at least start creating the vision that the mountain can be moved. She’s doing that.”

What’s it like for Deem to have a former player now at a rival school in the 45th District?

“She calls me a lot, we talk. She’s in my district, and I get that, but she’s one of mine,” he said. “I got my daddy hat on for her, she’s one of mine so I’m going to take care of her. When we get out here on the field, she’s coach Hasty. She’s at Lincoln, I’m at Boyle. But outside of that, if she needs help, I’m going to give it to her. That’s what the hashtag is, #RebelsForever. We’re a family.”