Dean Hayes’s coaching career has spanned nearly 50 years, a majority of them as the head track & field coach at Middle Tennessee State University.
Hayes, whose career began in 1959, has become a staple in the Murfreesboro community and in the Blue Raider family as he enters his 43rd year of service at the University. His men’s teams dominated the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), and his women’s teams duplicated that success since Hayes took over the women’s program in 1987. His squads continued their early success when MTSU moved into the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) winning 13 of 26 indoor and outdoor titles.
Hayes, a native of Naperville, Ill., began his illustrious coaching career at St. Mel High School in Chicago in 1959 before moving on to De La Salle High in Minnesota. His first collegiate coaching job came at his alma mater, Lake Forest College, in 1963, where he served as the head cross country coach and assistant track coach. He was at Lake Forest for two years until he was appointed to his present post at Middle Tennessee State.
His arrival at MTSU in 1965 marked the emergence of a new class of track & field competition. He focused his recruiting efforts on the jumps and relays and securing top-notch competitors for his programs. Hayes is credited with opening MTSU track & field to minorities and with recruiting the school’s first international student-athletes.
He has guided the MTSU program to 29 OVC titles, 14 SBC championships, and 18 NCAA Top 25 finishes. Hayes has won 12 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year awards in addition to his 15 OVC Coach of the Year honors, which includes ten in a row from 1977-1986. In 1981, Hayes was named the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year, and was also named the NCAA District Coach of the Year outdoors in 1977 and then again in 1981.
Hayes has coached more than 45 All-Americans during his tenure, and a number of them have gone on to compete internationally in the Olympic Games, World University Games, and Pan-American Games. Some of his more notable athletes were NCAA Champions Tommy Haynes (1974), Barry McClure (1972, ’73), Dionne Rose (1994), and most recently Mardy Scales (2003).
He was inducted into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 1982, the Illinois Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Mason-Dixon Athletic Club Hall of Fame in 2005. Hayes served as the President of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Coaches from 1981-1983.