Earl C. “Billy” Hayes coached the Indiana University cross country and track & field teams from 1924 until his retirement in 1943, winning numerous Big Ten and NCAA titles in the process.
Hayes’s cross country teams went from Big Ten doormats to perennial title contenders, winning eight Big Ten cross country titles during his career, including a stretch of six straight from 1928-33. From 1928 until Hayes’s retirement, his teams never finished worse than second. His teams also won three NCAA cross country titles (1938, 1940, and 1942) during his career, as well as five Big Ten track titles and the 1932 NCAA outdoor track and field title.
Hayes coached four world record holders and seven Olympians: Roy Cochran, Tom Deckard, Ivan Fuqua, Chuck Hornbostel, Don Lash, and fellow USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Fred Wilt; others, such as Archie Harris and Campbell Kane, were National AAU champions. Hayes also coached fellow USTFCCCA Hall of Famers M.E. “Bill” Easton and Bob Timmons.
From 1931-33, Hayes also served as head football coach at Indiana, and he was an assistant coach on the 1936 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.
Hayes was one of the founders of the National Collegiate Cross Country Coaches Association (NCCCCA) and was instrumental in organizing the first NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1938. Until the 1970s, the trophy presented to the winner of the NCAA Cross Country Championships was the Billy Hayes Memorial Trophy, in honor of Hayes’s achievements. He is recognized for his accomplishments in the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, and the USATF Hall of Fame, and the track at Indiana is named in his honor.
At the annual meeting of the NCCCCA following Hayes’s death, the coaches present adopted the following motion regarding Hayes and his impact:
WHEREAS, the National Collegiate Cross Country Coaches Association, assembled for the Sixth Annual National Collegiate Cross Country Championships, deeply feel the loss of E. C. “Billy” Hayes, one of the founders of the N.C.A.A. Cross Country Championships and the National Collegiate Cross Country Coaches Association; and whereas, his leadership and contribution to the physical, moral, and mental fitness of American youth through his exemplary personal character and habits and his career as one of American’s outstanding distance coaches, was universally recognized.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that Billy Hayes’ contribution to this association and to each of us individually will always remain a challenge and an inspiration to all present and future members of the National Collegiate Cross Country Coaches Association.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be entered in the minutes of this association and that copies be sent to the President of Indiana University, to the head of the Athletic Department of Indiana University, and to Mr. Hayes’ family.
Dated this 25th day of November, 1944