INDIANAPOLIS - Following an NFL playing career, Joe Hastings has spent time coaching at both the professional and collegiate level. Hastings now joins the Indianapolis Colts as the assistant special teams coach, working with former teammate Bubba Ventrone. Learn more about his playing and coaching career and how his knowledge of both sides of the ball will benefit the special teams unit.
When you looked at this opportunity to join this coaching staff, what was most appealing about joining Frank Reich's staff and especially working alongside Bubba Ventrone?
"I think first and foremost, the people here. As I went through the interview process and got to meet Chris (Ballard) and Frank (Reich) and Bubba (Ventrone) and talking through everybody and even people that I have known that have worked here, no one had anything bad to say. It was all positive and even in my short time here so far, it's been awesome. First of all, it's the people and the culture they built here that really drew me to it."
You have been getting to get in the building, start to get to know guys, what was your relationship with Bubba Ventrone or any of the other guys in the building prior to coming in and officially accepting the role?
"When I played in San Francisco, me and Bubba (Ventrone) were actually teammates for a little bit, so I knew Bubba back when he was playing and then obviously, we just stayed in touch. Then he went and started coaching for the Patriots, that's when I went out to Philly but always stayed in touch throughout the years and it's awesome to be back with him."
You played in the NFL, you mentioned coaching in Philadelphia and then you coached collegiately – Ole Miss, Indiana State and at the University of Michigan, how valuable is it to have experience in coaching drawing from both NFL and collegiate experience when you're working with special teams?
"It's awesome. When I first got into coaching was at Michigan, and I thought I'd be on the offensive side of the ball and coach (John) Harbaugh made me go to the defensive side and I thought, "I don't know about this," but it ended up being the best think, I think, he could have done for me. Then when I went to Indiana State, I went back to offense and then had the opportunity to go back on defense at Ole Miss. To be a good coach, you need those experiences just so you can see the whole picture. I think so many of those guys don't get those experiences that I'm lucky to have because it does give you an understanding of what all the different rooms and what all the different sides of the ball are doing. Obviously, I've been involved with special teams at all those places, but never just solely special teams, so the opportunity to do that and have that experience and obviously learn from Bubba (Ventrone) is invaluable."
You mentioned coaching offensively, you also played at wide receiver and you have that defensive coaching experience, in particular, how valuable is that to have that well-rounded knowledge on special teams because you are working with guys on both sides of the ball?
"That's the one thing that is so intriguing about this. In even talking to Bubba (Ventrone) – now that you have experience on both sides, as a special teams coach you really are dealing with everybody it's not just one side of the ball. For the previous years coaching you just deal with one side, you really didn't have much interaction with the other but in this side, you get to be around all the guys. I think it's awesome."
Is Bubba Ventrone still as fired up now as he was when you knew him as a player?
"Hasn't changed a bit. Probably has more energy now, maybe a little bit. I think he could probably go out there and run down a kickoff right now if he wanted to."
I think that's why guys play so hard for him and will play so hard for you as well.
"Absolutely, I think guys see – I know I do at least, he's a players' coach, he's done it. As a player you can listen to someone who has been in your shoes and he gets what he's asking the guys because he's been there, and he's done that. I think it's an awesome thing, it's a great room, a lot of energy. Obviously, it's exciting."
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