Last week, during the blog's list week, I did a post on the 10 coolest people I've Met Through Managing, but purposefully left two people off of that list, because I couldn't adequately describe them in a paragraph or two. Those two people are Hagan Southworth and Kasey McRay, our manager Nick Souder's best friends from growing up. Kasey is a rising senior at Louisville and manager of their basketball team, while Hagan is at Kentucky majoring (I think) in something having to do with horses or equine care. I can't quite be sure, because academics are rarely a discussion around Hagan.
These two guys are both memorable for me, but in completely different ways because they are almost exact opposites as people with Nick straddling the middle with a slight lean toward being more like Hagan. I will probably stay in touch with them both going forward, but more so with Hagan because he spends most of his time on his feet as opposed to his knees like Kasey does.
When describing Hagan, just imagine an even more outrageous version of myself. We get along so well because we both really don't care what other people think of us. We are going to be who we are and if you want to be around us, great, if not then that's fine too. We aren't going to change who we are for anybody, and we both have impeccable storytelling abilities. Not only can we both tell good stories, but we will both do things solely for the sake of the story involved with doing such a thing, not because we have any actual interest in doing it. Like the time Hagan decided to flirt with a girl who was rather unattractive before concluding "well her body is a solid seven and her face a solid two, so I guess she's a 4.5." Meeting Marshall Henderson falls into this category as well, although we both have a fascination for Marshall because he embodies everything we wish to be and gets away with it. Just Marshall Henderson doing Marshall Henderson things.
Hagan is the kind of friend you have where nothing truly surprises you when you hear from or about him. If Nick were to tell me Hagan was put in a chokehold while attempting to break into a federal prison, I can't say I would honestly be surprised. I'd just be like, "O Hagan, being Hagan" kind of like people said with Manny Ramirez and "Manny being Manny" with the difference being Manny was getting paid millions of dollars to be Manny while Hagan makes most of his income betting on horses at the Keeneland racetrack.
The guys around the team like Hagan for the same reasons they like me, cause we are both honest and genuine, nothing about either of us is fake, and they like Kasey for exactly the opposite reasons.
Kasey is sort of like our head manager Rob Cross. I have never seen Kasey work with the Louisville team, but can only assume he would be like Rob, based on his interactions with our players. While Hagan wouldn't be caught dead kissing ass (unless of course he thought it would make a great story), Kasey is the king of showing the players how great they are and showering them with praise. He is like their homeboy, and treats them with a sort of reverence most people treat their idols with. And last year during our Rites of Spring music festival was exhibit A.
Kasey and Hagan came down to Vanderbilt for the festival, and when some of the basketball players had people over in one of their dorms, Kasey was all over it. He kept telling Festus Ezeli "Bro, you are so good bro, you are so much better than any other center. You are going to the NBA, it's happening. You are going to make it" when he wasn't simultaneously telling Rod Odom, "Rod you are my boy. You're my boy for life. You're my boy" every five minutes. At one point Steve Tchiengang said to him in his deep, baritone voice, "Hey man, shut your mouth. You are talking too much." That didn't quiet Kasey down because we left the room soon after.
Kasey's dap-fest continued when we went out. To give someone dap is to basically acknowledge their presence and say whats-up to them. I personally feel like a person should give me know more than two daps in a night: one when they first see me and one when they leave, but Kasey and one of our other managers Rafi Goldman are dapaholics. They dap like nothing I've ever seen. We get to the club. Dap. I take a leak. Dap. I talk to a girl, mid conversation. Dap. I get dapped out around them, it's just too much.
While that is one side to Kasey, there is another, contradictory side, and that is the superfan side. I admire Kasey because he is the most steadfast supporter of an athletic program I have ever seen. He lives, breathes, and eats Louisville sports and his tweets and Facebook statuses serve as a constant reminder to the rest of us that Louisville has the best athletics program in the country, and it is hard to argue, based on the year they have had (Sugar Bowl win, women's basketball national runner ups, baseball in Omaha, and men's basketball Big East and national champs). And anyone that dares cross the beloved Cardinal red is in for a lashing out, like former Kentucky star Doron Lamb who dared to predict UConn would beat Louisville and after Louisville won, was promptly called a retard by Kasey.
Kasey wants to be a college coach and I have no doubt he will be a good one. He is passionate and knows basketball, but most importantly he believes in the place he works for and what he does and that is the key to building a culture anywhere.
So while they didn't make the list of the 10 coolest people I met due to space constraints, consider Hagan and Kasey numbers 11 and 12 on that list.