Mill Creek grad Katy Hackett was a two-time Daily Post player of the year before setting records at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Hackett had a 0.10 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 115 innings as a junior at Mill Creek. As a senior in 2006, she was 17-6 with a 0.62 ERA and 253 K's in 157 innings. In college, Hackett shot to the top of the freshman record books with 176 strikeouts in 225 innings. She had 10 shutouts as a senior, second most in school history, and finished her career ranked fourth all-time in wins (62) and second in strikeouts (622).
After stints playing in Germany and, most recently, as an instructor at The Pitcher's Mound in Duluth, Hackett is headed back to Charlotte. She was recently hired as the 49ers pitching coach and will be moving in about a week.
In this installment of "Getting to Know ...", Hackett took some time to talk to staff writer Christine Troyke about a variety of topics, including freezing through games in Germany in July, getting the job at her alma mater and why she didn't end up a sports writer.
CT: So you're about to start a new job. How did that come about?
KH: The head coach at Charlotte is the same as when I was there. I just finished up last year. She (Aimee DeVos) called me up one day. I didn't even know the girl that was there was leaving. She said, 'Do you want the job? I've just been thinking about you and I think you would be a good fit.' I said, 'Sure!'
CT: You didn't have to think about it?
KH: Oh, no. It was pretty immediate.
CT: Will there be a few people you were teammates with that you'll be coaching?
KH: There will be. That will be a little bit of an adjustment. But I think it will be good.
CT: You're the new pitching coach, but what does the job involve?
KH: I'll be in charge of all the pitchers, obviously, and getting their workouts and practices together. I don't know if anything has changed, but when I was there, pitchers came 45 minutes early for practice and then threw the whole team practice.
I'll also be in charge of community service and getting food and gear together. Those are the main things.
And I'll be recruiting.
CT: Was this the plan in college? Did you want to get into coaching?
KH: I thought about it. When I finished college, I went and played in Germany. I had a couple interviews over Skype, but I was just getting back (to the States) a little later in the school year. By that time, I had been looking for other things and giving lessons and stuff like that. It just kind of came about.
CT: Did you leave to play in Germany right after you finished college?
KH: I did. Less than a month.
CT: Is Germany a hotbed for softball?
KH: (laughing) It's really not. It's not very developed. That's part of the reason they bring Americans over to help develop and teach their girls.
CT: Did you know someone who was over there or did they call you out of the blue?
KH: It was kind of out of the blue. They emailed one of my coaches and said, 'Do you think Katy would be interested?' I was like, 'Uhhhhhh.' But I just went for it. It's a once in a lifetime kind of deal.
CT: What kind of season do they play?
KH: Their season had already started when I got there, but we played throughout the summer. Which, where I was in Germany, is chilly. It's more like fall or winter weather. (Laughing) It was a little bit of a shock. I was in Under Armor in June and July and freezing. They probably thought I was crazy.
We played on Sundays -- because for them it's their recreation. It's more of a hobby. It was doubleheaders on Sundays. Then we played in the European Cup in Italy in September and then the German Cup.
CT: How did the team do?
KH: They did fairly well. We finished top four in the European Cup and I think we were third in the German Cup.
CT: How many Americans were on the team?
KH: (smiling) Just one.
CT: You were the only one? How was that?
KH: It was pretty crazy. It was entertaining. I got to see a lot.
CT: What city were you based in?
KH: I was in Wesseling. It is a VERY small town in between Bonn and Cologne (on the west side of the country, not too far from Belgium and the Netherlands).
CT: Did you know what you were getting into?
KH: I had no idea.
CT: But it was going to be a short-term thing anyway?
KH: Exactly. And I went to Paris and Amsterdam.
CT: How often did you have practice?
KH: Three or four days a week.
CT: But you had plenty of down time?
KH: Oh, yeah. I could go shop and eat and do all that stuff. They also have a junior team that I helped coach. They were under 18.
CT: How was their skill level?
KH: Um, you know, it's not as competitive as softball is here. But some of them are great athletes. Some of them were there for the social aspects.
CT: Is there anything you miss about living there?
KH: Some of the bakeries (laughing). They have bakeries on every corner with the freshest bread and pastries and I'm all about some sugar.
CT: What did you miss about the U.S. while you were away?
KH: Everything. But especially my family.
CT: How long were you there?
KH: Four months. I came back the end of September.
CT: When you got back, did you have anything lined up?
KH: Nope. I really didn't.
CT: Did you work out at The Pitcher's Mound when you were in high school?
KH: I didn't. I took lessons somewhere else. But one summer when I came home from college, I took lessons from Lisa, the owner. I worked with her a little bit. After a while (of being back) I thought maybe I would see about doing some lessons (as an instructor).
CT: What's your degree in?
KH: Communications and mass media. Journalism actually.
CT: You didn't want a job at the paper?
KH: I thought about it actually. I love to write. I was worried about interviewing people. I don't know. I can just be kind of shy so something about that ... CT: You've probably been interviewed enough time to know what it's like?
KH: Yeah, I could probably do it. I did in college for classes and stuff like that. But I got more into public relations type stuff.
CT: Is that more where you thought you might end up after graduation?
KH: Kind of (laughing). I kind of had no idea. When I was applying for jobs, I applied from A to Z. I always wanted to work in sports -- because that's what my whole life has been. I love the atmosphere.