Haskell boys basketball coach Wesley Michael Hayes was remembered Monday as “a great coach and great friend.”
Hayes, 48, died around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19 due to apparent heart-related issues. He completed his seventh season at the Haymakers helm last month with a 22-4 mark and was in his 25th coaching season.
“Haskell Haymaker nation lost a great person and (Hayes) will be remembered forever,”’ said Rodney Luellen, Haskell girls basketball coach and middle school/high school prinicipal.
“Wes loved Haskell so much. He often said how much he loved coming to work to be around our kids, but mostly to be around his co-workers,” Luellen wrote in a news release.
“His love to compete drove him to be the best coach he could be and to push his players to be the best they could be. Wes loved his players and would do anything to help them succeed, not only on the court, but in life,” Luellen wrote in a text to the Tulsa World.
Hayes, who survived a near-fatal heart attack in February 2018, had coaching in his veins. His father, the late Mike Hayes, had a career that included boys coaching stops at Bishop Kelley, Berryhill, Catoosa and White Oak.
His great uncle, Ken Hayes, was former head men’s basketball coach at the University of Tulsa, New Mexico State, ORU and Northeastern State.
Hayes was a Coweta High graduate and played basketball at Bacone College and NSU. He also wrote and performed country-themed music and released his fourth album, “X of Me,” in 2019.
Following his 2018 heart attack, Hayes returned in 2018-19 to guide the Haymakers to a 24-5 record and the final rung of the Area tournament. It was his best year in coaching and Haskell’s 20 regular-season wins were a program first.
Hayes also was a head coach at Tahlequah, Vian, Jay, Nowata, Claremore Sequoyah and Hollister, Missouri; and an assistant at Central, Sapulpa and Fort Gibson. He totaled 234 wins in 18 years as a head coach.
He is survived by his wife, Brandy; son Micah, 24; and daughter Maddie, 17. An infant son, Jacob Lee, died from heart-related issues when he was 16 days old.
Funeral arrangements are pending.