A very special father: Marty Haws has done everything he can to help his children succeed

Published: Saturday, June 14 2014 10:45 p.m. MDT

Former BYU basketball player Marty Haws poses under a basketball hoop at his home in Alpine Thursday, June 12, 2014. While he shies away from the spotlight, Haws has done everything he can to help his children succeed.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

ALPINE — Marty Haws is a humble, quiet man. You have to really search to see him at one of his son’s basketball games. He shies away from the limelight and shuns flattery, sitting away from the huddle and sideline.

Yet, Haws has fathered two of Utah’s greatest high school basketball players. Both have been recipients of the prestigious Deseret News Mr. Basketball award, awarded annually since 1987. If you consider that eldest son Tyler won the award twice in 2008 and 2009 (TJ followed up by being named Mr. Basketball this past winter), 11 percent of the Mr. Basketball recipients are from the Marty and Tiffanie Haws household.

How did Marty do that?

That’s what many have wondered. Even former BYU and NFL quarterback John Beck has sought advice from Marty Haws for his own sons. How did he build this? What did it take? What is the secret formula?

Tyler is now a collegiate All-American, WCC MVP, and one of the leading scorers in the NCAA the past two years. TJ is currently on an LDS mission to France. After TJ's Lone Peak career, his coach, Quincy Lewis, declared “There is no doubt (TJ is) the most successful basketball player in Utah prep history.” All he did was start four years, earn four-time all-state honors, four 5A state titles, and a MaxPreps national high school championship.

The father may never fully explain his methods and strategy. Part of it is DNA. Part of it is following simple routines, skill development and a sprinkle of sports psychology.

But mostly it is a work ethic this side of coal mining. Somehow he’s plugged a competitive spirit inside Tyler and TJ that rivals the heat of a solar flare.

A starting guard at BYU, Marty himself was a gifted athlete with sprinter speed. Some of the formula he's followed is familiar — hard work, early-morning workouts — interwoven with add-ons and tweaks from his life’s experiences.

To gain a greater understanding of what Marty Haws has done, the Deseret News pinned down two people who know him inside and out. The first is his wife Tiffanie. The other is Orem High and AAU coach Golden Holt, who coached both Tyler and TJ beginning in their grade school days. Holt has coached 17 Division I players over the years.

“No question Marty has made a major difference in the lives of all our children,” said Tiffanie, who didn’t volunteer to be put on the spot and admits Marty would never be one to brag at all.

Said Holt, “Marty has been a huge force in the success of his son’s basketball careers.”

So, it’s on me to probe and poke in this venture of discovery. Inquiring minds want to know, so I pressed my way into their lives this week in celebration of Father's Day and a special father, indeed.

Why and how did this happen? Basketball superstars on the court and solid young men off it, Tyler and TJ are admired and respected for getting the most out of their bodies and minds.

Tiffanie smiles remembering some of the things her kids have said about Marty over the past 20 years.

Things like, "Dad is the coach? He doesn't even know how to coach girls soccer!"

Or, "My dad will take us. He is a super slow driver, but he will always take us."

One day TJ asked Tiffanie, "Will Dad be at my game?" She answered, "He couldn't get a flight to Orlando, so he is having to fly to Denver then Tampa and driving to Orlando." TJ responded, "Tell him he better not be late!"

When Tyler and TJ were younger and playing in the backyard court behind the Haws home in Alpine, Tiffanie heard one of them say, “Pass me the freakin’ ball!” She yelled out, “Hey, watch what you’re saying!” The response came, “Dad said we can say anything he says.”

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