Throughout the recent history of Middle Tennessee track and field, there have been two constants - veteran coach Dean Hayes and a legacy of championship performances. A renowned track and field coach both in college and professional circles, Dean Hayes has gained great respect since coming to Middle Tennessee 43 years ago.
His men's teams dominated the Ohio Valley Conference, and the women's teams have duplicated that success since Hayes took over the program in 1987. Both squads have continued their successes in the Sun Belt Conference, capturing 14 of the 30 indoor and outdoor titles for which they have been eligible since joining the league seven years ago.
Overall, Hayes has guided the programs to 29 OVC titles, 14 Sun Belt championships, and 18 NCAA Top 25 finishes. Forty-four of his athletes have earned 84 All-American 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. There could have been more awards, but Middle Tennessee did not sport a track program from 1987-90.
Hayes has added 12 Sun Belt Coach of the Year awards to complement his 15 OVC Coach of the Year honors, which included 10 in a row from 1977 to 1986. He was inducted into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. 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.
Following the 1981 season, the Division I Track and Field Coaches Association voted Hayes the NCAA Outdoor Coach of the Year. Hayes served as president of the TFCA in 1982-83.
In his first attempt at a Sun Belt Championship, Hayes delivered. The Middle Tennessee women took first place in Miami, Fla., in 2000, and Hayes earned his first Sun Belt Coach of the Year award.
Since taking its place in the Sun Belt full-time prior to the beginning of the 2000-01 academic year, Middle Tennessee has captured 14 of the 30 league titles in indoor and outdoor track and field. Hayes and his charges were instrumental in capturing the school's first-ever Vic Bubas Cup, the league's all-sports trophy, in 2001, when the track programs garnered three SBC titles. The teams also played a significant role in Middle Tennessee winning the Bubas Cup in 2004, 2005 and 2007, as well.
Hayes has indeed put Middle Tennessee on the world map in terms of collegiate track and field.
However, Hayes' experience is not limited to the collegiate level. He has coached several teams sponsored by either the United States Olympic Committee or USA Track and Field.
His international experience began at the first Olympic Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo. (1978), and included: working as the head coach at the World University Games in Kobe, Japan (1985); Goodwill Games in Seattle, Wash. (1990); World Cup in London, England (1994); World Championships in Athens, Greece (1997); and again at the Goodwill Games in New York City (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, Finland (1983), and the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea (1988).
In 1996, Hayes served as a referee at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Because of Hayes' international success, numerous foreign athletes have sought out Middle Tennessee as their college of choice.
Hayes' most successful collegiate athletes at Middle Tennessee have competed in the NCAA triple jump, an event in which Hayes specializes.
He coached NCAA champions Tommy Haynes (1974) and Barry McClure (1972, '73) as well as NCAA high hurdle champion Dionne Rose (1994) and his most recent national champion, Blue Raider Mardy Scales in the 100-meters (2003). Hayes also guided Roland McGhee to nine All-American honors, and both McClure and Greg Artis won All-American honors seven times.
Hayes earned his B.A. at Lake Forest (Ill.), where he competed in the 800-meters, the long jump, and the triple jump, 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 (three years) and Minneapolis (one year) before returning to Lake Forest and then moving on to Middle Tennessee in 1965.