The UW-Whitewater cornerback was “Famus” before he earned all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Conference first-team honors the past two seasons.
He was “Famus” before he even entered Naperville (Illinois) Nequa Valley High School, where he was the school’s defensive MVP as a junior and senior and went undefeated in wrestling his junior season.
Heck, No. 6 has been “Famus” since the day he was born.
Please meet Famus Hasty, who made two interceptions in the Warhawks’ NCAA Division III second-round playoff victory over St. Norbert last week, returning one 48 yards for a touchdown for what the Packers’ play-by-play man, Wayne Larrivee, would have called “the dagger.”
Famus—yes, it’s pronounced just as the word, famous—has been answering questions about his first name for as long as he can remember.
“I get that all the time,” Hasty said in a phone interview at the end of the Warhawks’ Tuesday practice as they prepare to play Bethel (Minnesota) College in a national quarterfinal game at Perkins Stadium at noon Saturday.
“Is that your real name?” Hasty said of the typical response when he introduces himself.
The Warhawks’ starting cornerback isn’t even the first “Famus” person in his family.
That honor goes to his father, Famus Hasty Sr.
As you see, the “o” was omitted because—well, let the younger Famus explain ...
“The name wasn’t special enough,” he said with a chuckle. “They had to put a little twist to it.”
And this family doesn’t stop at Famus.
“It’s kind of a family tradition,” Famus Hasty Jr. said. “My sister’s name is Precious. I have a cousin named Faith. We have a history of unique names.”
Hasty is doing everything possible to live up to his first name. After his notable high school career at Neuqua Valley—which has an enrollment of about 9,000 students—Hasty knew UW-Whitewater was the place he wanted to go to college.
“When I first stepped onto this campus, it really felt like home,” Hasty said. “It was almost like a movie. And with it’s tradition of winning—who doesn’t like winning?”
Hasty has done his part to keep that tradition going.
He played in 11 games as a freshman when the Warhawks went 12-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals.
He was named the WIAC Defensive Player of the Week once during his sophomore season and had an interception in an NCAA quarterfinal loss that ended the Warhawks’ 12-1 season.
Last year, a young Warhawks squad stumbled out of the gate and failed to make the playoffs with a 7-3 record. Hasty averaged 3.8 tackles a game, and made the all-WIAC defensive first team and earned a third-team spot on the all-West Region squad.
Now Hasty is one of the leaders of a defense that has allowed an average of nine points a game in the Warhawks’ 11 straight victories, with many of those points coming late in blowout victories.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Hasty had one of his most notable games last Saturday in Whitewater’s 54-21 win against visiting St. Norbert in a second-round playoff game.
St. Norbert had put up a good fight against the favored Warhawks, trailing by just three points late in the second quarter before Whitewater pulled away.
The Warhawks went ahead 41-21 with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Hasty put his stamp on the victory during the next two defensive series.
On first down after the Warhawks’ touchdown, Hasty picked off a pass and used his blocking to maneuver for a 48-yard touchdown return that put the game out of reach at 48-21.
When asked about his pick six, you would have thought his first name was Humble.
“That is just something that I have to thank my coaches, teammates, parents, thank everyone for,” he said. “(Teammates) were just laying down blocks left and right.”
St. Norbert did drive downfield the next series. Hasty stomped out the Green Knights’ final chance of some satisfaction by intercepting another pass in the end zone.
Those interceptions came after the Warhawks’ cornerback had become a bit infamous earlier in the game.
“On Saturday, Famus gave up his first really long play of the season, which is totally unlike him,” UW-W head coach Kevin Bullis said. “But he bounced right back. He went back to his basics, back to his fundamentals ... and as a result comes away with a pick six and comes away with another interception, as well.
“We’ve been fortunate to have some very good corners, and he’s definitely in that group.”
Hasty’s parents—Famus Hasty Sr. and Shaun—were at Perkins Stadium to cheer their Famus son—I mean their son, Famus—on as they do at every one of his games. Whitewater home games mean driving a bit more than two hours each way, and that’s their shortest trip.
“I have enormous family support,” Hasty Jr. said.
The senior will graduate this spring as a physical education major. He wants to see where football will take him, and eventually plans to be a personal trainer or coach. His positive attitude stands out during the phone conversation.
“It’s all about being better today than you were before,” he. said. “I never stop striving for greatness.”
That’s what being Famus is all about.
Tom Miller is a sports writer/page designer for The Gazette.