John Hayes enters his second season as the head coach of the Air Force men's and women's cross country program. In addition to his head coaching duties with the cross country team, Hayes serves as an assistant coach with the track and field program, working primarily with the middle distance and distance runners.
In his first cross country season at Air Force, Hayes guided the men to a third-place finish at the Mountain West Conference Championships and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships. He also coached Matt Williams to an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships - the Falcons' first appearance at the national meet in four years. His runners accounted for two selections to the all-region team and four all-conference accolades.
On the women's side, Hayes guided a very young team to their best conference finish in three years.
The Falcons succeeded in the classroom as well, with several academic honors. Kenny Grosselin, a recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, was an Academic All-America selection, while Brittany Morreale earned academic all-district honors. Air Force had 13 of its members selected to the academic all-conference team, while eight runners claimed MWC Scholar-Athlete honors. In addition, the men were named a NCAA Division I All-Academic Team.
During the Falcons' indoor track season, the middle distance and distance runners scored more points at the Mountain West Conference championships than any Falcon team in history. In addition, Sean Houseworth set an Academy record for 5,000 meters, becoming the first Falcon to ever finish in under 14 minutes.
During the outdoor season, Hayes guided the distance runners to three individual conference titles, with Ian McFarland becoming the first conference athlete to win titles in both the 5000- and 10,000-meter events at the same meet. Kevin Hawkins won his second outdoor conference title in the 800-meter run, en route to setting an Academy record and qualifying for the NCAA Championships. In total, six of Hayes' athletes qualified for the regional championships.
Prior to the Academy, Hayes served in the same capacity at Northern Arizona University. During his three years with the Lumberjacks, Hayes coached six individual NCAA champions and nine All-Americans. He also guided the women's cross country team to a 12th-place finish at the national meet, while setting 10 school records in track along the way. 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 also qualified five individuals to the NCAA cross country championship meet, two of which collected All-America citations.
While at NAU, Hayes coached Johanna Nilsson to the NCAA cross country championship title. Nilsson's time in the championship race not only set a course record, but earned Nilsson the title of NCAA Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Earlier that year, Hayes also coached Ida Nilsson to an NCAA indoor championship title in the 5,000-meter run.
Backed by Hayes' athletes, the NAU women won both the indoor and outdoor Big Sky Conference championships in 2006. Johanna Nilsson claimed NCAA championship titles in the indoor mile and 3,000-meter run, on route to being named NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. In his final season with the Lumberjacks, Hayes coached three NCAA cross country championship qualifiers, while helping the men's track and field team to the Big Sky outdoor title. He also coached Lopez Lomong to NCAA titles in the indoor 3000- and the outdoor 1500-meter runs.
Hayes joined NAU following a three-year stint at the University of Texas, where he served as the head coach for the women's cross country team and an assistant coach for the track team. While at Texas, he guided the Longhorns to three consecutive NCAA cross country championship appearances and a regional team title in his final season. In his first season at Texas, Hayes led the Longhorns' cross country team to a third-place finish at the Big XII Championships - the highest Big XII finish in UT history - and a second-place showing at the NCAA South Central Regional. In his last season, Hayes led the team to a third straight NCAA appearance and UT's first regional/district title since 1988. His team's stunning two-point victory at the NCAA South Central Championships that year earned him South Central Region Coach of the Year honors.
On the track, Hayes' athletes helped lead UT to four Big XII Conference championship titles (two indoor and two outdoor), with 26 all-conference performances and two individual conference champions. In 2003, Hayes' middle distance and distance squad scored more points at the Big XII Conference track championships that any Longhorn distance team in school history. His athletes set school records in four events as he sent five individual qualifiers to the NCAA Championships. Hayes was also an assistant on the staff that led UT to six top-15 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a second-place finish at the 2003 NCAA outdoor track and field championships.
Prior to his time at Texas, Hayes served as head cross country and assistant track coach at Morehouse College in Atlanta. While with the Tigers, Hayes directed the men to three top-three finishes at the Division II Southeast Regional Championships. He had a profound effect on the distance program at Morehouse as well, coaching athletes to 20 All-America honors over the three-year span and breaking school records in 12 different events.
An accomplished runner in his own right, Hayes was a scoring member of the U.S. Military Academy's team at the 1986 NCAA cross country championships. In 1987, he moved on to the University of Georgia, where he served as team captain during his junior and senior seasons. Hayes continued to train and compete after college, finishing first among American competitors at the 1994 Armed Forces World Cross Country Championships.
Hayes continues to coach Lomong in his post-collegiate career. Lomong was the top American finisher in the prestigious Bowerman Mile at the Prefontaine Classic in 2008 and went on to qualify for the Olympic Games in Beijing, where he advanced to the semifinals of the 1500-meter run.
He also coached former UT All-American Talis Apud-Martinez in her professional duathlon and track career career, which was highlighted in 2005 by first-place finishes at the Pan-American Duathlon Championships and U.S. National Championships and in 2007 by a silver medal in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Pan-American Games.
Hayes, a native of Randolph, N.J., received a bachelor's degree in statistics at the University of Georgia and completed the Defense Language Institute's Russian Language School in Monterey, Calif., serving as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Army. Hayes is married to the former Stacey Dickson, whom he first met on the Air Force Academy track 15 years ago. She is a Colorado Springs native (Liberty High School), who competed at the collegiate level in hurdles for the Colorado State University track and field team. The couple has a three-year old son, Christian.