Ryan with his father, Brian.
Ryan Hastings, a 2003 Mattoon grad, helped lead the Green Wave to three regional baseball championships and one IHSA Sweet 16 berth and bolstered a Mattoon Post 88 team that captured one American Legion state baseball championship and finished runner-up in another summer season. Honored twice as an All-Big 12 Conference player, Hastings posted a .405 career batting average and hit .460 during his senior season. In addition, he earned two letters in basketball.
Hastings later went on to become an all Big-Ten Conference baseball player and four-year letterman at the University of Illinois from 2004-08, earning a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Sport & Tourism and a master’s degree in Sport Administration in 2008. He served as Assistant Athletic Director for Development at EIU from 2011-15. In 2017, he joined the University of Arizona Athletics Department where he is Director of Development with the Wildcat Club. We had a chance to catch up with Ryan as part of our “Where Are They Now” series.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: Tell us what you are doing now?
RYAN HASTINGS: I am working at the University of Arizona in the athletics department. My primary role is as a frontline fundraiser for our program. I enjoy living in Tucson, Arizona, and have found that I enjoy the West Coast. As they say here, you don’t shovel sunshine.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: Let’s go back to Post 88 Legion baseball in 2003 – tell us about that team.
RYAN HASTINGS: It was a group of guys who were all immensely talented, cared more about their teammates than themselves, and found a brotherhood amongst each other that became family. Our bench on that team was better than most teams we played. Fortunate to be well coached and we had great families that supported their sons and sacrificed a lot for our success. That next spring, my first in college baseball, I believe that our Legion team was as talented as the team at Illinois that spring. Maybe better. We made memories that will last a lifetime together.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: You work at the University of Arizona – so Wildcat or Illini fan?
RYAN HASTINGS: Both! It is interesting how quickly you become a fan of the place you work. You have to know where your bread is buttered. At the same time, Illinois will always be my hometown team. I bleed Orange and Blue.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: When did you know you loved playing baseball?
RYAN HASTINGS: At an early age. Playing in the back yard with my Dad and brothers.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: How often do you get back to Mattoon?
RYAN HASTINGS: As often as I can. It has certainly been more of a challenge over the last year. It is always great to make it home.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: What athletes do you enjoy watching these days?
RYAN HASTINGS: LeBron James, Ayo Dosunmu, Cody Bellinger.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: How often do you talk to your former Mattoon team-mates?
RYAN HASTINGS: Daily.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: What was your favorite moment in a Green Wave uniform?
RYAN HASTINGS: I would say that it was on my Senior Night in basketball. My brother Myles and I were on the floor more than most games – and, miraculously, I was able to make some shots from 3-point range.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: What was your favorite moment in an Illini uniform?
RYAN HASTINGS: Growing up as a die-hard fan of Illinois, wearing that jersey at all was a highlight for me. The most memorable moment would probably be getting my first hit playing down at Mississippi State my freshman year.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: What is the Ryan Hastings advice for young athletes?
RYAN HASTINGS: Play because you love it. Play as hard as you can for as long as you can. Remember it is a game and all that you have to offer is your best. If you want to be great, you have got to work harder than you can imagine.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: How has the pandemic changed how you do your job?
RYAN HASTINGS: Much of my work is predicated around games and events, so with those being canceled it is different. We are finding ways to make the most of it. Like all of us, I will be happy when the days of Zoom calls and social distancing are a thing of the past.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: The best player you played against?
RYAN HASTINGS: Max Scherzer.