Hayes headed to North Carolina sports Hall of Fame

Hayes headed to North Carolina sports Hall of Fame
January 18
13:04 2018

Former North Carolina A&T State University (N.C. A&T ) and Winston Salem State University (WSSU) head coach William “Bill” Hayes is not only a legend in the Triad but across all HBCUs.  On Friday, May 4, Hayes will be enshrined into the 55th class of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Hayes will be one of 15 inductees enshrined into the class, which also includes Donna Andrews, Scott Bankhead, Hal “Skinny” Brown, Chris Cammack, Joey Cheek, Wes Chesson, Laura DuPont, Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick, Jack Holley, Paul Jones, Mike Martin, Frank “Jakie” May, Joe West and Fred Whitfield.

After 27 years as a college head coach winning 195 games along with his distinguished post coaching career as an athletic director, the honor is well deserved.

“The achievements of this year’s class of inductees enrich North Carolina’s remarkable sports heritage and the individuals have certainly earned the honor of joining the 336 men and women who have been previously enshrined,” said Nora Lynn Finch, president of the Hall of Fame.  “This is our 55th class and we look forward to celebrating this special time in our states sports history.”

“There are so many thoughts running around my head about being inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame,” said Hayes.  “Being a North Carolinian and thinking about where I started growing up as a poor kid in Durham and to get to the point where someone would even consider me for the North Carolina Hall of Fame is mind boggling.

“There is a humility and humbleness about the whole thing because I just keep seeing all these faces of all the people and coaches that assisted me along the way.  Everyone of those faces will be getting that award with me because without them I wouldn’t have been here,” Hayes said.

Hayes was an all-state player in multiple sports in high school before attending North Carolina Central University on a football scholarship.  He would later become head coach at WSSU followed by a 14-year stint at N.C. A&T.  He left both programs as the all-time leader in wins.

He began his coaching career as an assistant at Wake Forest University, coaching the running backs.  He was the first African-American coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  He says then Wake Forest head coach Chuck Mills opened the door for him to make his mark in coaching.

“My life has always been sports-related ever since junior high school,” Hayes said.  “I have always been involved with sports and it was natural for me to go right into teaching and coaching once I graduated from Central.”

Hayes had a tremendous impact on thousands of kids’ lives on and off the field of play.  His former players still hold him in high regard to this day.

“He is very deserving of this honor and it’s long overdue,” said Patrick Jordan, a former player of Hayes at N.C. A&T.  “He was a master motivator and he really showed us how to become men.  He was the type of guy that if he told you you could run through a brick wall, you would try because of the faith he had in you.”

Jordan went on to say that the MEAC Championship N.C. A&T won in the 2003-04 season was mostly due to Hayes even though he had already left the program the year before. 

Hayes says he does not miss coaching because he felt as though he gave it everything he had while also “leaving it all out on the field.”  He said he was on the grind coaching for decades, so to have the chance to relax is welcomed.  If he does need a football fix, he says he will go over to WSSU.

“This is the most pleasing thing that has ever happened to me and it really hasn’t hit me all yet,” Hayes said.  “I just think about all the people that played a part in this and it brings a smile to my face.”

According to Hayes, his time as an athletic director was even more enjoyable than his days on the sideline.  He says because he spent such a long time as a coach, he knew what the coaches needed sometimes even before they asked.

Hayes said even though he is very appreciative of the honor, he feels he will be even more grateful once his name is called and he is officially enshrined.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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