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Quiet Success and a Busy Summer for Liberty’s Coach Fagan

Kasey Fagan’s presence during a Liberty softball game is a quiet one. She isn’t prone to flashy demonstrations to “help” an umpire call a runner safe while coaching first base and her work as the Flames’ defensive coach lends itself to almost behind-the-scenes instruction.


Now entering her sixth season in Lynchburg, Fagan’s career in softball has mirrored that same path of quiet accomplishment.


After beginning her playing career at Florida, Kasey transferred to Arkansas and then spent a graduate assistantship at Auburn. One might say she made a real tour of the SEC before landing at Liberty for her first paid coaching position in 2017.


Running down the list of Fagan sisters, there’s also Sami, the one with a lengthy professional career after college. Haley helped lead Auburn to the Women’s College World Series during her time as a Tiger. Cameron is the current star atop Virginia Tech’s batting order.


The oldest sister – the oldest child of the six total Fagan siblings, in truth – Kasey’s career might not have included All-American honors or World Series runner-up trophies, but between a solid playing career and the coaching path she’s currently in the midst of, her softball resume is nothing to shrug at.


Go off the field and there’s more than softball to the eldest stateswoman in the Fagan clan.


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She’s Mrs. Kasey Fagan Graham now, by the way, though her softball-famous surname will stick around on the job. Her summer nuptials to Liberty strength coach Will Graham were simple and understated – exactly the way Kasey wanted things to go.


Planning the wedding was simple. The venue was the city hall. The dress? It came from American Eagle. The Liberty women’s basketball team made up the guest list.


There was no ulterior motive for the simplicity of the wedding; that was simply the way Fagan wanted it. In fact, even their guests were late additions. “Will is the strength coach for the women’s basketball team, and we were talking about the wedding – and I just wanted it to be really simple – and he said something about telling the girls to wear church clothes to the wedding and I was like ‘Who?’. And he said they asked and pretty much invited themselves and were coming to the wedding,” Kasey said.

“At first, I was not happy because I didn’t want for it to be a big thing. But I was really glad they were there, super thankful. And I love them all dearly… the reverend actually mispronounced my name several times and the girls were not happy. They were like ‘It’s Kasey!’ I had to thank them for defending my honor, but I told them ‘it’s really okay, it is.’”

Understated and quiet might seem like par for the course for Fagan, who marked her third decade of life last November. On the contrary, though, for those who know her best, they get to see a totally different Kasey.


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Liberty sports information director Joe Carmany has spent more than a decade at Liberty and he’s been the softball program’s SID the entire that Fagan has been on staff. He’s pretty sure, he said, that “Kasey knows every song ever written”.


Maybe a slight overstatement, but there’s definitely some truth in the premise. “Joe will always catch me switching genres, like one song might be country and the next is heavy metal,” Kasey said, laughing again. “I know a lot of random songs, and sometimes I’ll just be singing away and somebody’s like ‘how do you know this?’”


Asked whether the perception of her quiet persona is accurate, Fagan took a minute to consider the question.

“Of the Fagan girls, I’d say yes,” she mused. “I’ve always been more reserved than Sami and Haley for sure. We’re each fourteen months apart, so when we were in high school, I was a junior, Sami a sophomore, Haley a freshman… I’m competitive, but both of them are like ultra-competitive. I was competitive, but not at their crazy level. I guess that’s where the thing about being a more reserved personality comes in, just by comparison… off the field, I’m a pretty goofy person. I love stupid humor, I like hanging out with people better than I like sitting by myself. I like a lot of structure, I’m not really spontaneous, but I’m definitely a people person.”

In fact, the entire Fagan family has that same competitive streak. Dad, Kevin, is currently the head softball coach at Emmanuel College, currently engineering his second program turnaround as a college coach. Kevin Fagan was a Super Bowl-champion defensive end in the 80s and 90s, part of the San Francisco 49ers’ championship teams in 1989 and 1990.

“We had a weight room in my house,” Kasey Fagan said in a 2021 spotlight feature produced for Liberty. “Scales, a typical football-player kind of vibe. When me and my two sisters were born, we were all within years of each other, and my dad immediately was like ‘what sports are they going to play?’ So we played every sport.”“He constantly instilled in us ‘you’ve got to work hard, you’re never going to make it if you don’t work hard,” Kasey added in that same piece.

The competitiveness now manifests itself differently for Kasey, as it fuels her in how she instructs her Liberty players. That instruction will have a new look when the 2023 season rolls around, as well.


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Mrs. Graham isn’t the only new title that Kasey Fagan acquired this summer – she was also promoted to the role of Liberty’s top assistant coach and the added title of Associate Head Coach.

“Coach [Dot Richardson] actually didn’t tell me that she was giving me that title,” Fagan said, laughing as she spoke. “We had camp, our first camp of the summer, and she introduced me to almost 100 campers as ‘my associate head coach Kasey Fagan’ and I was like “What?” Then later, she asked me, ‘Hey, by the way, do you want that title?’ And I said yeah, that would be awesome.”

With the promotion and the title also came new responsibilities – after former assistant Paige Cassady departed to join the staff at Texas Tech, the Flames were left without a pitching coach.


Enter: Kasey Fagan.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it, because Paige did a really good job here,” Fagan said after adding the pitching coach title. “Honestly, every year I come back, I’m a little nervous, just knocking the rust off… I told the pitching staff when I called them individually that I’m obviously not Paige and I’m going to be different. But I’m excited about it and excited to work with them. The biggest learning curve for me is going to be calling a game, but I think we have a really good group of girls and I don’t think it will be hard to get them to buy into what I’m saying and what we do. They’re extremely hard workers, and they even told me ‘Coach Fagan, we know you’re a hard worker, so we trust what’s going to be done in the bullpen.’ The fact that they noticed that and have that trust, it made me feel good. I am nervous, but it’s in a good way. Not scared, just those butterflies of doing something new.”

Working with the program’s pitching staff may be new territory, but Fagan will have a familiar face by her side to assist with the transition of duties: Newly-graduated former program star Emily Kirby returned to Lynchburg as the volunteer assistant coach for this season. Fagan referred to Kirby’s skills in the developmental aspect of pitching as an important factor, “whether that’s on a fundamental or a mental level,” she added.


Lest it be forgotten, Fagan herself has experience in the circle. A pitcher-hitter combo all the way up through high school and travel ball, she also saw some action in the circle in college. Twelve starts, two shutouts, and three complete games at Arkansas were numbers that surprised even Fagan herself after some research. She also toed the rubber once as a Florida Gator. That story she remembers vividly:

“At Florida, I asked coach [Tim] Walton if I would ever need to pitch and he told me ‘no, but if anybody ever gets hurt, I’m going to ask you to’. Then there was one game against Georgia during my freshman year, I hadn’t pitched since the previous year during travel ball. And on my first pitch, [the Georgia batter] hit one off the wall that was like a laser; it was hit so hard, she only got a single. Then the next batter hit a ball right back to me and we turned a double play. And I don’t remember anything after that.”

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After finishing her playing career at Arkansas, Fagan doesn’t shy away from admitting that she “didn’t know what [she] wanted to do in life.” When the opportunity arose to join the Auburn staff as a graduate assistant, while also being on the Plains for a couple of years of sister Haley’s own career, she took it.


It was during her time as a Tiger that Fagan realized how much she enjoyed a side of the game that she had never experienced before. A brief stint as an office worker was enough for her to know that wasn’t the path she was supposed to take.

“When I got to college, they make you pick a major, so I just chose sports management because it had the word sports in it,” Fagan recounted, chuckling at the memory. “I didn’t understand that people knew what they wanted to do [in life]. I never knew. When I transferred, the degree that I was on track for at Arkansas was business. So I got into business and then I only wanted to be a  GA because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. It was really ‘well, at least it will prolong it, maybe I’ll figure it out in the next two years.’
“December, when I was about to graduate from Auburn, Dot called me and asked if I wanted to coach. Liberty came and played at Auburn that year and I ended up calling coach and talking to her at the hotel… after the first year [of coaching at Liberty], I absolutely loved it. The relationships, developing players; seeing a kid who you’re trying to get to make an adjustment over months’ time and then when it suddenly clicks, it’s so incredible. Incredibly satisfying when you see them succeed at something that they’ve struggled and struggled with.”

Something she didn’t initially expect to be interested in not only did interest her, but it intrigued her.

“It took just one year and then I said my gosh, I’m never doing anything else."

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