Unsung Hero: Coach Hayes


Tierra Mahute

Coach Hayes gathers the team

Thirty-five years ago, Coach John Hayes was hired as Bellwood-Antis’s  head football coach. According to Hayes, his main concern was one thing: winning.

At the start of Coach Hayes’ career, he simply wanted to tally wins and continue traditions that Bellwood has through its football program. However, throughout his coaching career, his views have shifted completely. He soon realized there was a much larger role to fill as a coach.

Football has become more than just a sport to Coach Hayes, it’s a way of life.

“I truly believe that football is the greatest teacher of the lessons necessary to be successful in life,” says Coach.

As these valuable lessons begin to pile up, the players and coaches begin to realize that football can prepare you for almost anything in life.

Senior Jake Burch is among those who have been impacted by Coach Hayes.

“He’s had a strong impact not limited to just athletics. I’ve learned a lot about hard work and making sacrifices for the better of others,” Burch says.

Hayes has also given each football player the opportunity to shape his instructions into personal growth.

He’s had a strong impact not limited to just athletics. I’ve learned a lot about hard work and making sacrifices for the better of others.

— Jake Burch

Senior Zachary Taylor says, “Coach Hayes has taught me that you can’t do it alone. No matter how good you think you are, you need help. You can’t be a one man team. Success is only achieved with teamwork, on the football field and off.”

There is no doubt that Coach Hayes has greatly impacted the lives of each Bellwood-Antis football player, but each player over the years has learned something different from the kid standing beside him.

“I hope the vast majority of them realize we try to give them all the best possible experience, and hopefully instill some of the characteristics necessary to be successful in the rest of their endeavors,” says Hayes.

Coach’s philosophy is to live in the moment, work hard, tackle the disappointments, and just enjoy each day.

“I have experienced great pleasure in this opportunity,” he said. “I am very grateful to have been associated with so many outstanding young people, parents, and coaches – It has been so rewarding and fulfilling. I cannot think of anything I would rather have done.”

Throughout the years, Coach Hayes has shifted his goals from winning to acting as a mentor to his players. The Bellwood-Antis community is grateful for the sacrifices he has made, and the dedication he has shown. Coach Hayes has truly touched the lives of a countless number of people – a heroic act that will not go unnoticed.