John Hayes Named Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Wake Forest

Hayes brings 18 years of coaching experience to the Demon Deacons

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. ( – John Hayes, who has coached seven Division I NCAA track and cross country champions and has led teams to nine Division I NCAA cross country appearances, has been named as Director of the Wake Forest track and field and cross country programs.

“I would like to thank Ron Wellman and the search committee for this incredible opportunity and for their professionalism and diligence throughout the search and selection process,” Hayes said. “I am excited to bring my passion for developing champions and student-athletes of character to one of the nation’s most prestigious universities. With a long history of excellence in academics and athletics, this program has tremendous potential, and my goals are high. I am committed to making Wake Forest the top team in the ACC and a consistent leader on the national stage.”

Hayes, who brings 18 years of coaching experience including 12 at the Division I level, is the founder and current head coach of ATX Elite Coaching in Austin, Texas. Known as a specialist in the middle distance and distance events, Hayes has coached three USATF 1,500-meter champions since 2009.

Prior to founding ATX Elite Coaching, Hayes spent five years (2008-13) at the University of Texas as cross country coach for the men’s team and assistant coach for the men’s track and field program. During his time with the Longhorns, Hayes’ student-athletes posted six school records, claimed 90 All-Big 12 honors, and captured three Big 12 team titles along with eight top-12 NCAA team finishes. A total of 14 Longhorns garnered First Team All-America honors and one was crowned NCAA champion under Hayes, who helped build the nation’s No. 1 and 3 ranked recruiting classes in 2011 and 2013, respectively. A three-time South Central Region Cross Country Coach of the Year, Hayes’ teams won back-to-back South Central Region titles in 2011 and 2012, the first in program history, and improved their finish four years in a row both at conference and nationals – finishing second in the Big 12 and ninth in the NCAA in 2012.

It was the second stop at Texas for Hayes, who was the women’s cross country and assistant track coach from 2001-2004. He led the Longhorn cross country team to three-straight NCAA Cross Country Championship appearances, claiming their first regional title in 15 years, while coaching one student-athlete to All-American status. Under the guidance of Hayes, the track and field program won four Big 12 Championships and qualified five individuals for the NCAA Championships.

Hayes spent the 2007-08 season at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he served as the head cross country and assistant track and field coach. The men’s cross country team finished third at the Mountain West Championships and saw one individual qualify for the NCAA Championships, the first NCAA appearance by Air Force in four years. On the track, Hayes coached four conference champions, 12 All-MWC recipients, six regional qualifiers, and one national qualifier.

From 2004-2007, Hayes served as the head cross country and assistant track coach at Northern Arizona University. Under his watch, 17 NCAA qualifiers earned nine First Team All-American honors, and six claimed NCAA titles. Assembling one of the strongest men’s and women’s distance programs in the country by the fall of 2007, Hayes was twice named the Big Sky Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Hayes got his collegiate coaching start at Division II Morehouse College from 1997-2000 as an assistant cross country and track coach. In his three years with the Tigers, Hayes coached 20 Division II All-America honors and saw his teams break a total of 12 program records.

A native of Randolph, N.J., Hayes received his bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Georgia, where he was a scholarship athlete in track and cross country and team captain his final two seasons. Hayes transferred to Georgia after spending his freshman year at the U.S. Military Academy, where he was a scoring member of Army’s cross country team at the 1986 NCAA Championships. He would go on to continue his education as he completed the Defense Language Institute’s Russian Language School and served as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Army for four and a half years. For his service, Hayes received the Good Conduct Medal in 1994 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 1995.

Hayes and his wife, Stacey, who competed in the hurdles for Colorado State University, have two sons – Christian (11) and Austin (4).

Hayes by the numbers:
3 USATF 1500m Champions in 6 years
3-time South Central Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year
2-time Big Sky Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year
52 NCAA Division I qualifiers and 24 First-Team All-Americans
7 NCAA Division I Champions
9 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship team appearances
16 Top-12 NCAA Division I team finishes in track and cross country
15 Division I conference championship team titles
3rd in 2012 and 5th in 2013 USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings