Kalum Haack has been around the game long enough to know.
Heck, Haack is the man who started the softball program at the University of Alabama. Now he’s running the show at Katy High School.
Yet, no matter where he’s been, Haack has built winners.
This year is no different for the Katy head coach as he’s guided the Tigers to the Class 6A state tournament for the third time in 23 years at the helm of the program.
Katy first went to state in 2007. The Tigers won state in 2015.
Haack’s history runs deep on the diamond. It’s a long history, though one not foreign to championships.
“Long,” Haack said, drawing it out the same way his career has long unfolded.
The Hempstead native won two national championships coaching then-Division II Sam Houston State. He took Nebraska and Kansas to the Women’s College World Series.
In 1985, while coaching the Cornhuskers, his team lost to UCLA for the national championship back when softball’s biggest stage was held in Omaha.
Haack hired Alabama’s current head coach Patrick Murphy and won a Southeastern Conference title in his second year with the Crimson Tide before exiting the college game to coach his kids.
At Katy, they’re all his kids, so to speak, and his feelings for the game haven’t wavered.
“To me, as a coach, I feel exactly the same as going to the World Series,” Haack said. “It’s rare that it gets to happen, probably more rare in high school because you can’t recruit. We’ve just been really, really fortunate to have such a big senior class that’s really, really good. They’ve been really committed to our goals and getting to state, and it’s finally paid off for us.”
Haack and championships are synonymous. Katy won it all in 2015. The Tigers have been to five straight regional championships. Katy has been ranked No. 1 in the nation, and this year is ranked No. 3 in the state. In each case, there’s a common link.
“It’s a blessing to be able to come through and come under Coach Haack and be able to learn so much about the game and soak up all of that knowledge,” Katy assistant coach Meghan Burrell said. “These girls are lucky to be able to have people who have been at such a high level, playing and coaching at such a high level and have that experience and just the knowledge of the game in order to be prepared for the next level.
“Every one of our girls have had an opportunity to play in college, so now having had this coaching and these opportunities, they’re going to be prepared for the next level.”
State championship-level softball will do that, too. For the Tigers, they have Haack to thank.
“They’re getting ready to experience something very, very few athletes get to experience,” Haack said. “I want ’em to take it all in. We’ve still got to maintain our focus and our concentration.”
With Haack at the helm, that shouldn’t be difficult.