LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Bob Hayes, who served as athletic director and track and field coach at McNeese during a 29 year career, passed away on Wednesday.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
He is survived by wife Nell, daughter and son-in-law Camille and Jeff Putfark and granddaughters Shelby and Savannah Putfark all of Metairie, son and daughter-in-law Robert and Emily Hayes of Boise, Idaho and brothers-in-law Mac Perryman of Calhoun and Velle Perryman of Dubberly.
The 82 year old Hayes received numerous honors during his career at McNeese where he became the first fulltime track and field coach in 1967. In 1987 he was named athletic director and held that position until his retirement in 1996.
A graduate of Louisiana Tech, which he had attended on a track scholarship, Hayes was a miler and became that school's mile run record holder.
An Army veteran and native of Kansas, Hayes took over as track coach at Lake Charles High after his graduation from Tech and then signed on at McNeese.
At McNeese he was also the cross country coach and he started up the women's track programs, cross country in 1985 and track and field in 1986.
During his track coaching career at McNeese, Hayes brought the university's teams to the forefront in conference and national competition. He led the Cowboy cross country team to four league titles and he had four runnerup finishes in outdoor track and one in indoor track. He was named the Southland Conference coach of the year in 1974.
Among the athletes Hayes coached on the field at McNeese were all-Americans Brian Cooper, Stephen Starring and Edward Lloyd. Cooper and Starring along with Olympian Fanahan McSweeney, Pat O'Callaghan, Dicky Morgan, David Kohrs and Verril Young are in the McNeese Hall of Fame.
His athletes won 56 individual conference championships (track and cross country) and five conference athlete of the year awards.
During his time as athletic director, McNeese saw such upgrades as the renovation of Cowboy Track and the addition of lights to Cowboy Diamond. Also during that time he brought in such standout coaches as Tony Robichaux in baseball, Scott Eastman in softball, Ron Everhart in basketball and Bobby Keasler in football.
Hayes was inducted into the McNeese Hall of Fame in 2000, was presented a lifetime achievement award by the Louisiana Track and Field Coaches Association in 2005 and was named to the Southland Conference Hall of Honor in 2007. He also served on the games committee at the prestigious Texas Relays for over 40 years.
Visitation: Friday, July 22... 5-7 p.m. Johnson Funeral Home.
Saturday, July 23... 10-11 a.m. University United Methodist Church located at 3501 Patrick St., Lake Charles, LA 70605
Funeral: Saturday, July 23... 11 a.m. University United Methodist Church located at 3501 Patrick St., Lake Charles, LA 70605