Chris Hayes enters his second year the head coach of the Dolphins. Hayes begins his sophomore season as skipper following a successful first-year campaign, leading JU to its first ASUN regular-season title in over a decade.
Hayes guided the Dolphins to a 36-24 record in 2017, leading the team to the ASUN Tournament Championship game. JU picked up wins against six NCAA Tournament participants, including a 3-2 home victory over eventual national champion Florida. The campaign also included a 13 game winning streak from April 1-22, the program's longest in 26 years.
In Hayes' first season the Dolphins had three players who recieved weekly ASUN honors during the season. Three players made ASUN All-Conference squads, while three more were honored on the All-Freshman Team, and four were named to the All-Tournament Team. Following the season, RHP Michael Baumann departed the team for the MLB June Amatuer Draft, and was selected in the third round by the Baltimore Orioles. LHP Casey Kulina later signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as an unsigned free agent.
Before taking the reigns of the program, Hayes spent three years as the Dolphins assistant head coach during his second stint with the team, which began in 2013.
As assistant head coach, Hayes served as the third base coach, coordinated the Dolphin offense, worked with the hitters, baserunners and infielders. He also coordinated and managed team travel, equipment and the strength and conditioning program. Additionally, Hayes spent significant time assisting Dolphin recruiting coordinator, Chuck Jeroloman, with recruiting.
Hayes’ credentials as a result of working with the JU offense during his eight years as an assistant are impressive.
During his tenure, the Dolphins posted an eight-year batting average of .288, scored 5.95 runs per game and averaged 78 stolen bases per season and his work with the infield produced an average .964 fielding percentage.
In addition to the on-field statistical performance, Hayes mentored four All-Americans, two freshman All-Americans, 19 Atlantic Sun Conference selections, 12 ASUN All Freshman team selections, three ASUN Player/Pitcher of the Year award winners. Nineteen Dolphins signed Major League Baseball contracts (Austin Hays, JJ Gould, Connor Marabell, and Angelo Amendolare most recently.
A 1995 graduate of Jacksonville University, Hayes was previously on staff from 2003-08 before taking over the Seminole State College of Florida program as Head Coach for five seasons from 2009-2013. He brings to the JU program 15 years of coaching and nine years of playing experience at the collegiate and professional levels.
In 2013, Hayes returned to the River City after leading Seminole State to a 125-113-1 overall record in five seasons and represented the Mid-Florida Conference in the FCSAA state tournament in 2013. During his tenure, 51 student-athletes moved on to play at four-year universities and 13 were selected in MLB draft, including Cleveland Indians MLB pitcher, Mike Clevinger. Of the student-athletes Hayes mentored, 32 were named all-conference selections, eight earned all-state recognition including the 2013 Mid-Florida conference Pitcher of the Year, 2011 MFC Player of the Year, 2010 MFC Fireman of the Year and 2010 MFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Hayes first joined the Dolphins as an assistant coach in 2003, helping the team to back-to-back ASUN 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 JU, Hayes spent two years as an assistant coach at Wolfson High School in Jacksonville from 2002-03, 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 also was 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 and MLB players - Eric Hurley and Billy Butler.
Before launching his coaching career, Hayes spent five 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 finishing with a .276 career batting average. Over the course of his career, Hayes 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, was drafted on two occasions by MLB organizations (1994, Seattle; 1995, Toronto) and twice earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors. He also picked up all-regional accolades as a junior. Hayes led the Dolphins to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances (1994, 1995) 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.
Chris and his wife, Joy, live in Jacksonville.