Coach … Cop … Caring community volunteer.
Everything he’s done — in and out of sports for more than a half-century — has benefitted others.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone with a cross word to say about Bob Hayes. On so many levels, for so many people, over so many years, he’s been a Hall of Famer.
Hayes earned eight letters playing scholastic basketball and baseball at St. Patrick’s (Class of 1955). He served in the Navy aboard the carrier USS Intrepid. What followed was a 35-year career with the Syracuse Police Department — first as a patrolman, then Resource Officer in the city schools.
He was one of the Parochial League’s finest basketball coaches in the 1960s and ’70s. A three-time Coach of the Year — 1969 and ’73 at his alma mater, ’74 at West Side Catholic (a merger of St. Pat’s and St. Lucy’s) — his teams won three Parochial crowns, two Diocesan Class B titles and the ’74 Section 3 Class C championship (highest level ever for a Parochial League school).
His 1969 St. Pat’s team won the school’s first regular-season title in 33 years.
Bob was also athletic director at St. Pat’s. He coached one season at Most Holy Rosary, then retired as a high school basketball coach but coached St. Pat’s grammar and CYO teams. He also coached West End PBA Little League baseball for 25 years.
He founded and directed the Rascal’s Youth Basketball League – still going today as the Leprechaun League and directed by two of Hayes’ former Rascals. He’s had a positive influence on more youngsters in the Tipperary Hill area than you can imagine.
Hayes – always supported by his late wife, Janet, and their four sons - is more than games won or championship seasons. That’s why he was the 1978 Syracuse Optimist Club Award and the 1999 recipient of the Blind Men & Criers’ Lew Andreas Award - each for community service. In 2002, he was inducted into Sections 3’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Next year, Bob Hayes will become an octogenarian. This year, he becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.