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Friday, September 24, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

WSU Football
Catching up with James Hasty: Still in the game, from sideline

By Craig Smith
Seattle Times staff reporter

Hasty is defensive coordinator for Bellevue High.
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James Hasty, one of the best defensive backs in Cougars history, is riding a new wave of football success this season.

Hasty is the defensive coordinator for the Bellevue High School team that sent shockwaves through the nation earlier this month by stopping the record 151-game winning streak of De La Salle of Concord, Calif.

In that 39-20 victory, Hasty's son, J.R., rushed for 271 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns.

"He told me he knew I could do it," the son said immediately after the triumph. (J.R. is putting recruiting on the back burner until after Bellevue's season. Among the schools that already have extended him an offer is WSU.)

James Hasty said after the victory, "I think J.R. answered some questions tonight. He showed he's a big-time player."

His Pro Bowl father certainly was.

James was a third-round draft choice in 1988 and played 14 seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets, Kansas City and Oakland. He starred at Franklin High School, played at Central Washington for two years, then transferred to WSU.

Although his son goes to Bellevue, he hasn't forgotten Franklin and paid for the renovation and re-equipping of the school's weight room. It now is named after him.

This is the fourth season Hasty, whose non-football job is in real estate, has been on the Bellevue staff. Head coach Butch Goncharoff chose the word "invaluable" to describe his contributions.
"He's helped to take our program to a whole new level," Goncharoff said. "The kids love him."

After leaving Central, Hasty was a walk-on at WSU before earning a scholarship. He said he almost never got on the field.

At Central, players had to buy their own football shoes, so Hasty's first stop in Pullman was the town's athletic-equipment store. Then he went to see coach Jim Walden. The coach welcomed him and sent him to the equipment room, where Hasty discovered that shoes were issued to players.

Hasty remembers saying, "This is big time — you get free shoes here." After practice, he returned the shoes he purchased to the store for a refund.

The next day, Hasty arrived in the locker room and discovered that all his gear was gone.

"You need to see the head coach," the equipment manager dourly told him.

Hasty went to Walden's office and found the coach in a foul mood.

"We don't appreciate guys selling stuff back to the store where we get our gear from," Walden growled.

Hasty was startled but composed himself and delivered his explanation.

"Fortunately for me, I was able to show a receipt," Hasty said.

"I almost wound up getting kicked off the team before I was on it," he joked.

Hasty's first game as a Cougar came midway in the season, and it was the historic 34-14 trouncing of USC in Pullman.

Hasty drew a bead on a ball carrier and failed to realize that the Trojan already was out of bounds.

"The next thing that I know, I've got Jim Walden's hand on my facemask. He is telling me how I am about to blow this opportunity for the school to win."

"I got benched after that play," Hasty said. "My first play almost became my last play."

Hasty had too much talent to stay in the doghouse for long, though.

Ask Hasty about his NFL favorite memories, and he just mentions "some overtime wins over the Raiders" when he was a Kansas City Chief.

"I don't think anything will top Bellevue-De La Salle," Hasty said. "I don't think anything I've ever accomplished as a professional will ever overcome that. That was a big deal. Not just for the (Bellevue) kids but for the state."

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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