Legendary basketball coach Dan Hays, who guided the Oklahoma Christian men’s program for 33 seasons, will return to Oklahoma Christian as a volunteer assistant coach, OC interim head coach Kendre Talley announced Thursday.
Hays will serve as a special assistant to Talley, who was named as the program’s interim coach earlier this month by Athletic Director David Lynn. Talley played for Hays at Oklahoma Christian from 2010 to 2014.
“Our first step in building a top-level NCAA Division II program is to establish a foundation for growth and success,” Talley said. “Adding coach Hays to our team strengthens our foundation. His knowledge of the game, the basketball community and this university are invaluable. He makes us better, makes me better, on day one.”
Hays won 724 games during 38 years as a collegiate head coach, the most by any coach at a four-year Oklahoma college. When he stepped down from Oklahoma Christian in February 2016, he had a 653-402 record in 33 seasons coaching the Eagles. He ranks among the top 50 all-time in wins at four-year colleges at any level.
Hays was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame at the 1998 national tournament and became a member of the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Feb. 21, 2002. He also was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Eastern New Mexico University, in 1996. In April 2011, Oklahoma Christian honored Hays by naming the court inside the Eagles’ Nest “Dan Hays Court.”
In 2017, the National Association of Basketball Coaches honored Hays with its prestigious Guardians of the Game Award for Service, which recognizes coaches who serve as leaders who help enhance their communities through civic involvement. It is considered to be one of the highest coaching honors given by the NABC.
Since leaving Oklahoma Christian, Hays spent one season as a volunteer coach for Mustang High School’s boys team and the past two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Central Oklahoma. He also works at Solid Rock Basketball, a private training facility in Edmond.
“I really look forward to being a part of Talley’s staff and his transition as our head coach,” Hays said. “Kendre was a special player for me as an Eagle and has a very bright future in coaching. I want to help as the Eagles move into the Lone Star Conference. I loved my 33 years as head coach of Oklahoma Christian basketball and look forward to being a part of this transition.”
This information comes from a statement provided by the Oklahoma Christian athletic department.