July 27, 2007
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force cross country/track and field programs completed the changes to its coaching staff with two additions and one promotion on Friday, July 27, head track and field coach Ralph Lindeman announced. John Hayes was named the head coach for cross country and will serve as the distance coach during the track and field season, while Scott Steffan was selected to coach the Falcons' horizontal jumpers and pole vaulters.
In addition, throwing coach Scott Irving was promoted to Associate Head Coach of the track and field program. Irving is entering his ninth year at the Academy and has coached numerous Mountain West Conference champions, including two-time NCAA javelin champion Dana Pounds.
Hayes joins the Falcons' program from Northern Arizona University, where he spent three years as the head cross country coach and distance coach for the Lumberjacks' track team. During his tenure at NAU, Hayes coached his athletes to six individual NCAA Championship titles and nine All-America citations.
A two-time Big Sky Conference cross country coach of the year, Hayes guided his teams to four Big Sky titles, while accounting for five of six individual titles. He has also qualified numerous athletes to the national championships. While working with the Lumberjacks' track program, Hayes coached the NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, Johanna Nilsson, who won national titles in both the indoor mile and 3000-meter events.
Prior to his stint at Northern Arizona, Hayes spent three years at the University of Texas, where he served as the women's head cross country coach and assistant track coach. The Longhorns' cross country team advanced to three consecutive NCAA Championship meets, while claiming one regional title. His track athletes helped UT to four Big XII titles with 26 all-conference selections and two individual champions.
Hayes also spent four years as the head cross country and assistant track coach at Morehouse College. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Hayes spent one year at the U.S. Military Academy and served as a Russian linguist for the U.S. Army.
"John will be an exceptional fit for the Air Force Academy and our program," Lindeman said. "He is an individual with exceptional character and high values, who will be a terrific role model and mentor to our distance runners. His experience attending West Point and serving in the Army will be extremely valuable for serving our cadet-athletes."
Steffan joins the Air Force track and field program after spending seven years coaching the pole vaulters and men's multi-event athletes at the University of New Mexico. During his time in Albuquerque, Steffan has qualified numerous athletes to the NCAA regional and national meets, while producing Mountain West Conference champions and several all-conference selections.
Under Steffan's guidance, the Lobos snapped a 17-year drought in the multi-events by winning two decathlon titles and the conference's first-ever heptathlon title. He also coached New Mexico's first NCAA Championship decathlon competitor in 19 years.
A graduate of UNM, Steffan returned to his alma mater after a three-year stint at Wichita State University. There, he coached All-American selections in the pole vault, triple jump and heptathlon. In addition, he guided the Shockers to the top three women's pole vault finishes at the Missouri Valley Conference during each of his three seasons. Steffan also spent six years at the University of Virginia (1992-98), where he coached athletes to All-America honors in the high jump, heptathlon, decathlon, 400-meter hurdles and long jump.
"I've had the opportunity to observe Scottie over the past seven years at the Mountain West Conference meets," Lindeman said. "I have been very impressed with the way he relates to his athletes. He will bring extremely high energy to the enthusiasm to our team, and coupled with an incredible work ethic, I believe he'll immediately impact our success recruiting and performing and the conference and national levels."
Hayes and Steffan will join a Falcons staff that includes Lindeman (combined events), Irving (throws) and Capt. Ben Dahlke (hurdles), as well as volunteer coaches Ron White (sprints) and Bob Graf (high jump).