Coach Dean Hayes

August 3, 2021, Stones River Country Club

Throughout the recent history of Middle Tennessee track & field, there have been two constants – veteran coach Dean Hayes and a legacy of championship performances. A renowned track & field coach both in college and professional circles, Hayes has gained great respect since coming to Middle Tennessee 56 years ago.

Overall, Hayes has guided the programs to 29 OVC titles, 18 Sun Belt championships, and 20 NCAA Top 25 finishes. 52 of his student-athletes have earned a total of 124 All-America honors, four have become national champions and a number of them have gone on to compete internationally in the Olympic Games, World University Games and Pan-American Games.

Hayes has added three Conference USA Coach of the Year accolades and 15 Sun Belt Coach of the Year awards to complement his 15 OVC Coach of the Year honors. He was inducted into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. In addition, Hayes became a member of the Illinois Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and he was inducted into the Mason-Dixon Athletic Club Hall of Fame in March 2005.

Hayes’ experience is not just limited to the collegiate level. He has also coached several teams sponsored by either the United States Olympic Committee or USA Track & Field. His international experience began at the first Olympic Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1978. Since then, he has worked with a number of events, including the following: World University Games in Kobe, Japan (1985); Goodwill Games in Seattle (1990); World Cup in London (1994); World Championships in Athens, Greece (1997); Goodwill Games in New York (1998).

The Naperville, Ill., native also has served as an assistant at several international events. Aside from the first Olympic Sports Festival, Hayes worked as an assistant at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania (1981); the World Championships in Helsinki (1983) and the Coach of the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea (1988). He also acted as a referee at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Hayes earned his B.A. at Lake Forest (Ill.), where he competed in the 800-meters, the long jump and the triple jump, the latter an event in which he was an NCAA qualifier.

After earning his M.S. Ed. at Northern Illinois, Hayes began his coaching career at the high school level in Chicago where he coached for three years followed by spending one year in Minneapolis. He then jumped to the collegiate ranks at his alma mater, Lake Forest, before coming to Middle Tennessee in 1965.