Sara Hayes Named Softball Head Coach
Bloomington, Ind. - Indiana University Athletics announced Sara Hayes has been named the sixth head softball coach in school history. She comes to Indiana after spending the last two seasons as the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
The 1995 Midwest Collegiate Conference Player-of-the-Year as a senior at the University of Notre Dame, Hayes arrived at Northern Iowa in August of 2000 after a successful stint as an assistant coach at DePaul University in Chicago.
At Northern Iowa, Hayes inherited a program that had achieved a sub-.500 record during the season prior to her arrival and went on to post a 33-26 overall record in 2002, only her second season at the helm of the Panthers. This record included wins over seventh-ranked Arizona State, Illinois State, Minnesota (twice), Evansville (twice), Cal. State-Northridge, and Louisville. During her two seasons, she coached the 2002 Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American third baseman, two All-Midwest Region selections, seven All-Missouri Valley Conference picks, and two Academic All-Conference honorees.
Off the field, Hayes was tireless as she raised the competitiveness and national respect for the UNI softball program both in the classroom and on the playing field. In November of 2001, Hayes' staff was also credited with landing one of the top recruiting classes in school history. In addition, her fundraising skills, alumni relations, and implementation of community service projects greatly improved the profile of the Northern Iowa softball program. Her implementation of the "Panther Prowl", an alumni and friends newsletter cultivated additional support for the program.
"Although I have grown professionally during my tenure at Northern Iowa, leading the Indiana University program will be a career position. I want to be a vital part of a dynamic community. Professionally, Indiana University provides the opportunity to compete for the national championship, which is necessary for me in my career vision."
"Our mission is to prepare student-athletes for championship competition," said Director of Athletics Michael McNeely. "This means performance as a champion on the playing field, in the classroom and in life. We are fully confident that Sara will provide the outstanding leadership that will be needed to achieve these goals in the sport of softball."
While at DePaul from 1995-00, the Blue Demons compiled a 265-97 (.732) overall record and made back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1999 and 2000, including a Final Four finish in 1999. The DePaul coaching staff was named the NFCA's National Coaching Staff of the Year in 1999 and the Midwest Staff of the Year in 1998 and 2000. During her stint in Chicago, Hayes coached eight Louisville Slugger All-Americans and seven GTE Academic All-Americans. In 1998, DePaul won 28 consecutive games, at the time the eighth-longest winning streak in NCAA history.
Hayes' success as a coach has mirrored her accomplishments as a player. As one of the finest softball players in Notre Dame history, Hayes was a three-time All-Mideast Region honoree and was selected as team MVP as both a junior and senior, when she helped lead the Irish to back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids. The Midwestern Collegiate Conference Newcomer-of-the-Year in 1992, she ultimately left Notre Dame as the school's career record holder in 10 offensive categories, in addition to owning eight single-season marks.
Hayes is a native of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Notre Dame in 1995 and is currently pursing a master's degree in Public Management.