DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - The Diboll Lady Jacks are having a historic season. The Ladyjacks won 25 games, won a district title and are back in the third round once again with a shot to go to the forth round - something no other Diboll team has done. All of it coming under new head coach Hayland Hardy.
Hardy knows his way around the diamond. He fell in love with baseball at a young age. Talent could be seen at a young age. He was a standout at Lufkin and then went on to perform well at Angelina College, Delta State and SFA. He was good enough to find his way to the big leagues and wound up with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Sadly the life long dream would not last.
“Twenty-two years ago, doctors in Dallas sent me home with just months to live,” Hardy said.
Hardy was diagnosed with Pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. As it progresses it becomes harder to breathe. Up until diagnosis Hardy believed it was just asthma.
His baseball career was over.
“I struggle with Spring Training even now because I love the game,” Hardy said. “Everybody does struggle with that but I do believe God’s plan is perfect. It has not been easy. I have been hospitalized many times. Near death many times but I am thankful to the Lord that he lets me stay here and every day is a special day to me."
Not being able to stay away from the game he loves, Hardy would get into teaching and coaching.
“I want to help kids,” Hardy said. “I am in teaching and coaching because of teachers and coaches at Lufkin High School. They helped mold the man I am today. I didn’t understand how much those coaches meant to me at the time but now I do. They were not just trying to prepare me for a game in high school but they were trying to prepare me for life."
Years later he is molding players on the field, through a ministry outreach he created and with Fellowship of Christian athletes.