Shaun Hayes: New MC football head coach
by Skylar Smith
Shaun Hayes was on a recruiting trip in Jacksonville, Fla., when he received notice that Mike Rader planned to resign as head coach of the Scots and take the position of wide receiver coach at East Tennessee State University.
For the second time in Hayes’s eight seasons of coaching MC football, the position of head coach had become available. The first time was after the 2011 season, when head coach Tony Ierulli was replaced by Mike Rader.
This time around, Hayes will fill the position.
Athletic Director Kandis Schram announced on Wednesday, Feb. 18 that Shaun Hayes will serve as the 29th head coach in MC football’s 122 seasons of history. After putting Hayes through an “intense interviewing process that put [Hayes] in front of many different groups of people, including faculty, administrators, alumni, players and staff members,” Schram said, “it became clear immediately that coach Hayes was ready.”
Schram also spoke on her decision to hire internally rather than externally.
“I believe we could have opened the search and we would have gotten hundreds of resumes, but I do not believe that we would have found a better fit,” she said.
“That’s the first name I could think of for our new head coach,” said Kent Minor, junior linebacker and team captain for the Scots. “Everyone I talked to felt that coach Hayes was the right man for the job,” he added. Minor was recruited to play football at MC by Hayes.
Hayes’s journey to head coach has been a long one. After playing four seasons for the Scots and graduating with a degree in Organizational Management in 2006, Hayes stayed at MC and assisted the coaching of running backs in 2007 and of defensive backs in 2008. In 2009, he was named the quarterback coach, recruiting coordinator and video coordinator.
Under the direction of Hayes, the Scots hosted three straight all-conference quarterbacks from 2009 to 2012. After being named back-to-back USA South co-champions in 2012 and 2013, Rader promoted Hayes to assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and director of player personnel before the 2014 season. With Rader gone, Hayes was the ideal candidate.
“This is my dream,” Hayes said. “In college football, there aren’t a lot of men that stay in one spot and grow, but I came to the realization by about 2010 that this was home, and this was where I wanted to be… I had spent a third of my life here… Maryville College was something that had grown on me, and I did not want to let go.”
“When coach [Rader] got here, I had no idea where I would end up,” Hayes said. “But the man was so generous with his time; he taught me so much that prepared me for the situation I’m in right now.”
Hayes found Rader’s resignation to be bittersweet, saying “I had such a strong relationship with the man, so I definitely didn’t want him to go… but this is a business, and every man has to do what’s best for themselves, and more importantly, their family… I’m happy for him, and I wish him the best.”
Rader’s hometown is in Johnson City, Tenn., where he graduated from ETSU in 2002 after playing four years at wide receiver for the team. He stated that if any other offers had come his way, he probably would not have accepted, but he felt that this move made the most sense for him and his family.
Along with Rader went Scots linebacker coach and defensive coordinator Scott Brumett, who played alongside Rader at ETSU. With Rader and Brumett now gone, Hayes is now left with the duty of hiring a wide-receiver coach and defensive coordinator. Hayes expressed that he is in no rush to make a decision, stating, “I want to make sure that I find the best fit for our program and our players.”
Although Hayes has never been in a head coaching position before, the whole program seems to be behind him. Hayes explained that he will need to rely on his coaching staff as he takes on this new challenge.
“I definitely wanted the job, but more importantly, I wanted to make sure that the staff we still have here could stay together,” Hayes said. “I know that I could not do this by myself… the great thing is, I know I’ve got men down this hallway that I trust,” he added while pointing down the hallway of coaches’ offices.
Returning full-time coaches for the Scots include: Philip Bailey, strength and conditioning coach, offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator, Paul Humphries, defensive back coach and special teams coach, and Ian Harris, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach.
Hayes plans to meet with every player one-on-one this week to discuss expectations for the future, but expressed that his relationships with the players should not change much with his new position.
“The one thing I’m not going to do is change who I am,” Hayes said. “I want to be genuine to these guys, and I want them to know that I’m going to work extremely hard to provide them with the best Maryville College student-athlete experience that I can.”
With spring practice around the corner, Hayes believes that the primary task is to get everyone on the same page. The Scots currently boast a 98-man roster, which is particularly large for a Division III program.
“We’ve retained really well over the past three years, and we have some great young men in this program,” Hayes said. “I am going to challenge them and try to push them to limits they’ve never been to, and when the fall comes around, they will know they have put in the work.”
“I am very excited about the new regime under coach Hayes,” Minor said. “Everybody in the program is excited, and we’re ready to keep the train rolling.”
Perhaps the most anticipated regular season match-up for the Scots in 2015 will be when they head to Johnson City to take on Rader, Brumett and the ETSU Buccaneers on Thursday, Sept. 10.