BY LAURA MCCANDLESS – STAFF WRITER
On Saturday, November 7, during football’s “Senior Day” game against Rhodes College, quarterback and senior Heath Haden passed Brian Behrendt in becoming the program’s all-time leader in career passing touchdowns. This was not his first time in the record books, after breaking the school’s career passing yards record at Sewanee and then tying the single-game passing yards record against Birmingham Southern.
Entering the season, Haden was aware of the records, but when asked if he was consciously working towards them, he said, “not really, no.”
“As this year was approaching, I was aware of them and that it might be attainable at some point, but at the same time there are so many things that have to go your way in order for that to happen,” Haden said. “If you are playing only to break records, you’re going to be disappointed. My mindset all season has been to just enjoy playing football with my friends and to do whatever I had to do in order to give us the best chance of winning.”
Haden attributes his success to his teammates.
“Any time an individual is fortunate enough to break records, there is always some level of dependence on others in order to achieve it,” Haden said. “In my case, the records I was able to set are completely dependent on everyone around me.”
Labeling the records as belonging to a single individual, Haden explained, just “feels strange…because doesn’t feel like I’ve individually done much at all.” It was the offensive line that he credits with keeping him “upright and healthy.”
After spending five years on the Colonel offense, Haden has been at the center of a lot of success.
“Our passing success has been completely dependent on an even more successful ground game with the running backs I’ve enjoyed handing off to, as well as an equally dominant defense to keep the ball in our hands,” he said, “I’ve just been super lucky to have been the guy pulling the trigger for the past 4 years, because there’s no doubt in my mind that the other incredibly talented quarterbacks I’ve played with throughout my career could’ve had just as much success playing with guys I’ve played with.”
One of those teammates is senior Brandon Kamp, who was elected along with Haden and senior Alex Mattingly to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Comonwealth Team prior to the 2015 season. Kamp said that Haden has “one of the best work ethics on the team.”
“He embodies the stereotypical quarterback that knows everything and puts a lot of extra work into the mental aspect of the game that goes unseen by a lot of people,” Kamp said.
Having played side-by-side with Haden for four years, Kamp says that he wouldn’t have anyone else as his quarterback.
“He brings a calm demeanor to the field,” he explained. “His presence on the field gives me confidence and the rest of the team confidence that we’re going to be successful.”
The end to Haden’s football career is bittersweet, but he’s excited for whatever might come his way after graduation.
“I love football, and it has played a big part in shaping who I am, but I’m excited for the next chapter in my life, and I’m excited to see how the lessons I’ve learned while playing football have prepared me for it,” he said
The Colonels will certainly miss Haden, but if he works as hard outside of Centre as he did on the field, the Cento is sure he has great things to come.