Former Dolphin is a two-time JU grad and spent five-years on staff from 2003-2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former player and assistant coach Chris Hayes has been named the Assistant Head Coach for the Jacksonville University baseball program. A 1995 graduate of Jacksonville, Hayes, was previously on staff from 2003-08 before taking over the Seminole State College of Florida program where he has served for the past five seasons. He brings to the program 12 years of coaching and nine years of playing experience at the collegiate and professional levels.
“Chris and I have had a great relationship since we began working together my first three years here at Jacksonville. I am very excited about welcoming him back,” said Head Coach Tim Montez. “He knows this university inside out and knows what it is going to take to get this storied program back in the national spotlight where it has been in the past. Coach Alexander spent most of his life building the foundation of this program and now we are truly humbled to take over the reins, and relentlessly pursue our goal of competing for a national championship. The valuable experience Chris’ has gained running his own program, will no doubt benefit our student athletes both on and off the field.”
Hayes makes his return to the River City after leading Seminole State to a 125-113-1 overall record the past five seasons and represented the Mid-Florida Conference in the FCSAA state tournament this spring. During his tenure 51 student-athletes have moved on to play at four-year universities and 11 have been selected in MLB draft. Among the 32 were named all-conference selections Hayes has mentored, eight earned all-state recognition including the 2013 conference Pitcher of the Year, 2011 Player of the Year, 2010 Fireman of the Year and 2010 Defensive Player of the Year.
Development off the field is a priority for Hayes as well as he has coached four academic all-americans and participated over 40 community service projects by the team.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to rejoin the JU baseball program,” said Hayes. “My time at Seminole State was invaluable. I am very appreciative of the opportunity and experience gained while serving as the Head Coach of the Raider baseball program. It was my priority to develop the complete student-athlete, preparing them for life on and off the field. The opportunity to work with Coach Montez and continue to build on the foundation built by Terry Alexander was something I could not pass up. I am excited about the vision, passion and direction that both President Tim Cost and Director of Athletics Brad Edwards have for the University and our athletic program. The academic, athletic and campus environment at Jacksonville University makes it one of the most unique and attractive situations in the country. I look forward to getting back into a Dolphin uniform.”
Hayes first joined the Dolphins program as an assistant coach in 2003 and helped the team to back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference Championships and NCAA Regional appearances in 2006 and 2007. It marked the first consecutive regional appearances for the program since his final two years as a player with the Dolphins (1994-95). As recruiting coordinator, Hayes received national accolades with back-to-back recruiting classes ranked in Collegiate Baseball’s Top 40 Poll.
Prior to his time at Jacksonville University, Hayes spent two years as an assistant coach at Wolfson High School in Jacksonville from 2001-03, where the team won the district championship in 2002 and 2003, while earning a No. 12 national ranking at the end of the 2003 season. Wolfson was also ranked in the top 10 in the state every year of Hayes’ tenure, while seven of his players received college scholarships. Two of his coaching prospects are former first-round selections - Eric Hurley and Billy Butler.
Before launching his coaching career, Hayes spent six seasons (1995-2000) with the Toronto Blue Jays organization after being drafted in the 28th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He played every infield and outfield position in five seasons with the Blue Jays’ minor league system. Of the course of his career, Hayes also made stops in St. Catherines, Ontario; Hagerstown, Md.; Dunedin, Fla.; and Knoxville, Tenn. while in the minors.
Hayes was a four-year starter at Jacksonville from 1992-95, twice earning All-Sun Belt Conference honors. He also picked up all-regional accolades as a junior. Hayes led the Dolphins to their only consecutive NCAA Regional appearances (1994, 1995) in school history and ranks among the all-time Jacksonville leaders in RBI (176), at-bats (802), hits (271), doubles (53) and total bases (402).
A native of Jacksonville, Hayes earned his bachelor’s degree from the University in finance in 1995 and his MBA in 2007.
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