Eric Hayes is beginning his fifth season at the helm of the Troy men's and women's tennis teams.
In 2005, Hayes took the men to the championship match of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, where the Trojans just missed a trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 loss to UCF. The Trojans posted a 10-10 record, including a 5-1 conference record, and the Trojans placed two athletes on the all-conference first team, sophomore Irving Morales and senior Daniel Quiceno. Morales was also named the league’s player of the year.
The women finished 10-6 overall, and sophomore Suzanne Jones and Tsitsi Masviba each earned places on the All A-Sun second team.
In 2004, Hayes led the women to an A-Sun Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid, the first in the school’s history. The Trojans finished with a 14-8 record, and Hayes was named the Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year. Three Trojans earned places on the all-conference team.
In 2004, Hayes coached the men to a 9-14 record. Freshman Irving Morales was selected as the A-Sun Freshman and Player of the Year.
In his first season, Hayes led the men’s team to an 11-10 dual match record and a tie for third place in the Atlantic Sun. The four win improvement from the 7-9 mark posted by the 2001-2002 team was the largest turn-around by a Troy men's team since the 1996-97 season, when that team improved by five games.
Hayes also found success with the women’s team. The Trojans posted an 11-5 dual match record and finished third in the A-Sun.
Hayes coached six all-conference participants in his first season as head coach. The men's team earned one first-team, one second-team and one all-freshman-team member. Three women received all-conference honors with one on the first-team and two on the second-team. Before arriving at Troy, Hayes served as the head men's tennis coach at North Carolina State from 1996-2002. Hayes took the Wolfpack to its first NCAA Tournament in 21 years when they qualified in 1999. During the 1999 season, the Wolfpack was ranked as high as No. 21 nationally. He produced the schools first winning record in 11 seasons, as well as one All-American, one conference player of the year, five all-conference players and 18 conference all-academic performers.
From 1998 to 2002, Hayes served on the NCAA Division I National Tennis Selection Committee.
Prior to joining the Wolfpack, Hayes served as the Director of Professional Players at the Palmer Tennis Academy in Tampa, Fla., where he trained and traveled with athletes to ATP and WTA events around the world. While at Palmer, Hayes coached players such as Helen Kelesi, Mary Pierce, Daniel Nestor, Brian Dunn and Jared Palmer. While being coached by Hayes, Palmer won the Wimbledon Doubles Championship, and the ITF ranked Dunn the No. 1 junior in the world. Hayes also coached two Wimbledon women’s doubles participants.
Hayes also served as head men's tennis coach at South Florida from 1989-1992, compiling a 33-31 record. His 1990 squad won the Sun Belt Conference Championship. That year Hayes was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year and Region III Coach of the year.
Hayes received his first head coaching opportunity in 1988 when he was hired as head women's tennis coach at the University of Kansas. In his two-year stay in Lawrence, Hayes compiled a 27-20 record. He also had five players make the Academic All-Big Eight team. When Hayes was hired at the age of 23, he became the youngest head coach in the Big Eight in any sport.
Prior to his career as a head coach, Hayes served one season as the assistant men's coach at Clemson in 1986. The Tigers were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country that season, winning the 1987 ACC championship and ending the year ranked 14th in the final ITA poll.
Hayes also serves as the tournament director of the USTA $50,000 women’s challenge held at the Lunsford Tennis Complex in Troy. Troy is one of only three universities to host such an event. The Tournament has been held for two years, with Kristina Brandi winning in 2003 and Shaney Perry winning in 2004. Both Brandi and Perry are ranked in the top 50 in the world by the WTA computer rankings.
A Suffern, N.Y., native, Hayes played four years at Carson-Newman College, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in political science. He was a four-year all-conference selection in the South Atlantic Conference during his career and as a senior earned NAIA honorable mention All-America honors.
Hayes is married to the former Lisa Hunt, of Troy. The couple has a son Seth Hunt, and a daughter, Marley Hayes.