Bethel Icon Retires as Director of Athletics
For most people who have thought of Bethel College/University Athletics for the past several years there is one name most associate with the Lady Wildcats and Wildcats. Coach Glenn Hayes has represented the school for over 20 years in some capacity. He was the Wildcat baseball head coach for 14 years. Since August of 2006 he has served as Director of Athletics for the fastest growing athletic department in the nation. Thursday Coach Hayes announced his retirement as the leader of the athletic department at the school.
When he took the reins in 2006 as AD the school had 18 sports programs. Today the school has 30 athletic programs which is more than most NCAA Division I teams in the country. Over 800 student-athletes are expected to wear in some capacity the Vegas Gold and Purple this next school year.
Coach Hayes would be the first to tell fans he is not the only reason for the growth of the athletic department but most people close to the school will tell you he has been the driving force for the growth and success of the department and programs.
Coach Hayes has been a long time TSSAA and collegiate official who is one of the most respected figures ever in that sector of sports across the state and region.
With his announcement Thursday to his coaches and staff there was an outpouring of respect and love from those who served under him.
“It has been a privilege and honor to work with Glenn Hayes the past 12 years, “stated Men’s Head Basketball Coach Jeff Britt. “ He is a person of high character and standards. I am glad we worked together as coaches and athletic directors during his time. We are certainly going to miss him and wish him nothing but the best in his future,” he added.
Bethel Director of Sports Information Dave McCulley expressed his sentiments. “It is a bittersweet day for all of us in athletics. I am happy for him but sad to see him go at the same time. I have been in the business for almost 20 years and have never served under a man I respect and love as much as Coach Hayes. His ability to lead others is remarkable. I first met him when I broadcast games he was officiating. I always loved to see him walk in a gym. It has been an honor to work for him.”
Bethel In-Line Hockey Head Coach Matt Swinea spoke of the leadership of his mentor. “Coach Hayes is the very essence of what an Athletic Director should be. He is a tremendous leader and knows how to get others to follow his direction. He is always fair in his dealings with coaches and student-athletes. While sometimes he has to be stern, he always fully supports those who do the right things. He was the perfect choice to guide the Bethel Athletic department through the growth and changes the last several years. I have been fortunate to have worked closely with him for seven of those years.” Swinea added, “I have learned a great deal from him that I will take with me throughout my coaching career and life. I feel grateful to also call him a friend. He is the biggest Bethel supporter I know and he will continue to be. I wish him the very best in all he does.”
Bethel Women’s Head Basketball Coach Chris Nelson said, ‘Coach Hayes means so much to so many people. He is not only been a figure head for athletics, but also a father figure and friend to me and many others. He is a stand -up guy that could handle the toughest situations with class. You never had to wonder where you stood with Coach Hayes. He would drive the hard nail and be there to talk to you if you needed him. He has been a major influence on me personally and professionally.
Coach Hayes told the coaches and staff, “We have faced many challenges together. We have laughed and cried together. I just feel it is time to do some different things in my life. I have never seen my Grandson Michael play football. Now I will have an opportunity to do that. With my son Drew in professional baseball I can now travel and see him play.” Hayes added, “I thank all of you for your support and efforts as you have helped make this athletic department what it is. I feel it is in great shape and I know you will support your new Director of Athletics.”