Chris Hayes inks 5 year deal to stay at JU
Hayes led the baseball team to the NCAA Tournament this season
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the heels of one of the most successful seasons in program history, Jacksonville University athletics has signed head baseball coach Chris Hayes to a new five-year contract.
“The leadership and direction that President Cost and Alex Ricker-Gilbert provide for this university and athletic department is extremely motivating and energizing,” said Hayes. “Their actions continue to show the commitment JU has in elevating our university and our baseball program.
“I am so thankful and appreciative to be a part of the Dolphin family and the opportunity to lead this program.”
“I’m ecstatic to announce a new five-year contract for Coach Hayes,” said Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert. “He has done a remarkable job in his first two years as head coach and under his leadership, JU baseball has returned to the national stage.
“JU baseball doesn’t just have a good team, we have a great program, and Chris is the guy to lead us into the future.”
JU baseball returned to the postseason in Hayes’ second year as the head coach after a seven-year drought. The Dolphins earned the highest seeding in program history, competing in the Gainesville Regional as the two-seed. JU defeated FAU 5-3 on the opening day of the regional for the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 2011.
Along with the postseason success, JU won 40 games for the first time since 2006, and for only the 10th time in the history of the program. The team returned to the major polls for the first time since the same year, staying ranked for two weeks and climbing as high as #24.
In his first season at the helm of his alma mater, Hayes guided the Dolphins to the ASUN Regular Season Championship and captured Coach of the Year honors in the league. JU has toppled ranked opponents eight times in his two years, and has combined to win 76 games, 30 of those in conference play. The team has picked up five conference tournament victories in that stretch as well, after only winning one game the three years prior.
Under Hayes’ tutelage, 15 players have earned All-Conference honors, including four first-teamers, and closer Chris Mauloni was named an All-American by several media outlets afafter his record-setting season. Two Dolphins have been drafted in the last two seasons, RHP Michael Baumann by Baltimore in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft and RHP Chris Gau by Tampa Bay in the 14th round of the 2018 draft.
Hayes, a former standout for JU back from 1992-95, has served on the staff at JU in various capacities for 11 years. In all, he has mentored five All-Americans, three Freshman All-Americans, 27 ASUN All-Conference selections, 18 ASUN All-Freshman team selections and three ASUN Player/Pitcher of the Year award winners. Nineteen Dolphins signed Major League Baseball contracts after playing for Hayes.
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