Chris Hayes joined the St. Andrew's family in late September 2021 as the school's new sports information officer. In this role he will manage all SAS athletics communications, including SAS athletics social media, scores reporting and recaps, and video and livestream of home games. Hayes lives in Founders Hall and also serves on weekend and dorm duty teams.
Hayes comes to St. Andrew's from The Chapin School in New York, NY, where he served as associate director of athletics. He has also worked at the Holy Trinity School in Washington, DC; The Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, FL; and Georgetown University, and has a wealth of experience in sports management, coaching, and teaching. Mr. Hayes holds a master's in sports management from Georgetown and received his bachelor's degree in education at the University of Miami, where he played for Hurricanes football as a walk-on wide receiver. We sat down with him recently to learn a bit more about the work he'll be doing with St. Andrew's athletics.
What drew you to St. Andrews and the sports information officer position?
I was looking for a change [from] New York City and one of my colleagues was an alumni of St. Andrew’s and said I would be a great fit. I've been in athletics pretty much my entire life, but I've never been to or worked at a boarding school. I've always been interested in [them] so, [I thought], all right, I'm looking for a change anyway, let's take a look and everything I read and saw really drew me more towards the school. While [the role consists of] things that are already a part of athletics communications—social media and keeping track of box scores—the move to also live streaming sporting events is the next step in a lot of high school sports. Especially with COVID, and at a boarding school [where] parents [are] not all living in the area, it’s really important to be able to get that capability so families can watch their kids live. I’m [excited to] help grow that at St Andrew's.
How do you feel that athletics and education are intertwined at a school like St. Andrews?
I think one of the most interesting things and why I enjoy sports [so much] is… it's one of the first times in a student's life that they're actually going to fail publicly and not in a bad way, [but] in a supportive way. A lot of the time, when you have a bad test or something goes wrong in the classroom, for the most part, it stays in the classroom [and] you keep it pretty private. When you play sports, whether you make a team, whether you lose a game, everyone sees it happen in front of you. It's hard. It's not easy to deal with at first, but then you realize the next day the sun still comes up. You work towards fixing whatever happened, you work on improving, you practice, you get better. Again, it's all, hopefully, happening in a safe spot. You [have] people that want to support you and help you grow.
Do you have a favorite sports memory that really has stuck with you?
I think there's a ton of them. Especially [as a coach] seeing the growth of a team [during] challenging seasons. With me on the playing field, it's probably walking on to the University of Miami football team. That was a dream… I never played high school football or organized football until I tried out for Miami. I'm also not a very obviously gifted athlete. I'm like, I'm 5 foot 9, don't run fast, and not a big guy, so it was definitely unexpected by everyone involved, including myself. I never thought it would happen and then it happened. It was pretty wild, so I would say, it still baffles me, even 15,16 years later.
What are you hoping to accomplish as the school's sports information officer?
I'm really looking forward to engaging with alumni through athletics—it's such a great way for alumni to stay in touch with the school. And again, making sure that parents are able to see their kids play, which is huge, and helping to grow the athletic department some more. [Ultimately,] I want to help [create ways] that get people to really take pride in their school, not only while they're there at St. Andrews, but after as well. Athletics [is a great] tool for that.