Another legend lost

Published 8:16 am Thursday, July 31, 2014

High School athletics in the Roanoke-Chowan area has suffered its third major loss this year.

Diego Hasty passed away on Tuesday at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh after suffering a heart attack.  He was 60.

His death comes in the same year where the local athletic community mourned the loss of former Ahoskie High and Hertford County High coaches Daryl Allen and Richard Murray.

Diego Hasty died Tuesday at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh.

Diego Hasty died Tuesday at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh.

Hasty was currently the athletic director, football coach, and girls basketball coach at KIPP Pride High School in Gaston. He had previous coaching stints in football and basketball at Weldon High School, Northampton County High School-East, Northampton County High School-West, and Hertford County High School.

His former Northampton High teammate, Gattis Hodges, currently of 98.3 WDLZ-FM radio and the ‘Voice of the Hertford County High Bears’, said much of Hasty’s coaching success on the gridiron came from getting the most out of his players.

“The kids loved him,” Hodges said. “We’re talking about the kind of kids that would knock the door down running through a wall for you.  He was a real players coach; put in a lot of the time, but didn’t make a lot of money.  He was always cordial and approachable, and I really enjoyed working with him.  He was just a regular Northampton guy to the end.”

Hasty’s success with the Hurricanes at NCHS-West attracted the attention of Hertford County High School where the coach spent the seasons of 2007 and 2008. He also coached varsity girl’s basketball during the 2007-08 season.

Hasty’s football coaching record in football was 19-7.  While he was with the Bears he coached several players who received athletic scholarships. In 2008, Markee White signed to play at HowardUniversity and in 2009 five more of the coach’s players added their names to college rosters.  That group included: Will Simmons at East Carolina, Demetrius Jenkins and Domonic Everette at Campbell University, Ivan Coulton at North Carolina A&T, and Alex Anthony at Fayetteville State.

“I enjoyed working with him while he was here at Hertford County High School,” said Bears athletic director and varsity boy’s basketball coach Charles Simmons. “He was an all-around good guy that got along with everybody; he could laugh and smile all at the same time.

“I guess it’s true what they say about news that comes in ‘threes’,” Simmons added.  “We’ve now lost three coaches this year in the Bear family in Coaches (Daryl) Allen and (Richard) Murray and now Coach Hasty.  They will all be sorely missed.”

Other coaching colleagues are also mourning Hasty’s loss.

Jeri Squire, now the head varsity girls basketball coach at Northampton County High School, spoke of the impact Hasty had on her career. Squire once served as Hasty’s assistant basketball coach at NCHS-West.

“Coach Hasty was an outstanding mentor and friend; mere words cannot describe the things we shared as coaches and the feelings we had as coaching colleagues,” said Squire on Wednesday. “One of the things I give him a lot of credit for was the things off the court he did to make sure our student-athletes were prepared to either tackle college or a job. He prepared them for life; he prepared me as well.

“His legacy lives through me,” Squire added. “He touched a lot of lives over his 30-plus years of coaching. He definitely touched my life and I’m a better person for knowing Diego Hasty.”

Another coach, Mike Dail of Windsor, remembered Hasty as a fierce competitor on the field of battle, and a gentlemen off the field.

“Diego would go out of his way to help you, but if your team was scheduled to meet his, the friendship went out the door for one game,” said Dail, a former head coach at NCHS-West before Hasty arrived in Gaston and who has served as the defensive coordinator at Bertie High School for the past several seasons.

“I simply loved Coach Hasty….he was such a colorful character,” Dail continued. “He was the type to not hold anything back; what came up came out. I could talk for hours, tell you some great stories about Diego. But for now about all I can say is this is such a personal and professional loss for those of us still in the coaching ranks. Diego will be missed and I offer my condolences to his family.”

Hasty, an all-conference performer as an offensive end and baseball second baseman at Northampton High School, later attended Chowan College (ne University); where he played baseball for Jerry Hawkins, before finishing his collegiate career at Elon in 1977.

Hasty began his coaching career a year later at Weldon High School where his first prep team went 9-1.  He coached the Chargers for eight seasons finishing with an overall record of 42-36, including another 9-1 campaign in 1980.

From Weldon, Hasty returned to his roots, accepting the head coach post at Northampton-East in Creeksville beginning in 1986.

The highlight of his 15-year run with the Rams was the 1989 team that finished with a record of 10-1.  He moved across the county to Gaston and Northampton-West in 2002 after amassing an 85-78 mark at East.

Hasty had his best run as a coach with the Hurricanes.  His first team went 6-5 but his 2005 and 2006 teams went 27-3 over the two year period, including a spot in the ’05 1A state championship game where they lost to Elkin, 42-12.  The following year his team won 13 in a row before falling to Manteo 31-20 in the 1A Eastern Finals.

Funeral arrangements for Hasty are incomplete at this time.