The UCSB softball team continues to make big moves in the restructuring of its coaching staff.
Recently hired Head Coach Jo Evans announced Tuesday that Amy Hayes will be the first assistant to join the team.
“I’m so excited to welcome Coach Hayes to UC Santa Barbara Softball. I appreciate her making this commitment to our program,” Evans said. “Her 20-plus years as a head coach and her expertise in pitching will be a great addition to our staff. We are fortunate to have her on board and I look forward to growing this program with her. Amy will be a great fit.”
Hayes comes to Santa Barbara following a 14-year run at Bradley University, which included the first two NCAA Tournament trips in program history and 295 wins, making her the school’s all-time winningest head coach. This past season, she surpassed the 500-win milestone, ending the year at 508 in her career. Her 140 victories in Missouri Valley Conference play rank ninth all-time.
After initially joining Bradley as an assistant for the 1997 season, Hayes would return to The Hilltop over a decade later, beginning her tenure as head coach ahead of the 2009 season. From the moment she returned, her teams didn’t waste any time reaching new heights, immediately claiming the program’s first-ever MVC Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth.
The Braves’ record book has seen many other changes since then, including new all-time marks for longest road win streak, single-season home runs and conference wins, a number of repeat All-Region and All-Conference selections, and a second NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.
Prior to Bradley, Hayes served as the head coach at Portland State (2006-08) and Boston University (2001-04), leading both schools to the Big Dance as well. In 2006, she similarly led Portland State to its first ever conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in her first year with the team. In four seasons with Boston, the Terriers made two NCAA Tournament trips, winning back-to-back America East Conference Championships and three regular season titles.
The Peoria, Ill., native made yet another trip to the NCAA Tournament as an assistant coach at Oregon in 2005. She was also an assistant for three years at Virginia Tech (1998-00), where her teams boasted an impressive 127-69 record.
She began her coaching career at Maroa-Forsyth High School, where she was the head coach during the 1993-94 school year. The year before that, she was a graduate assistant on the staff at Evansville, where she graduated with a degree in sociology and a specialization in anthropology in 1992.
As a player at Evansville, she earned First Team Midwestern Collegiate Conference honors following her senior year. She also competed in New Zealand at the Women’s Major Level from 1987-97.
Aside from her on-field coaching accomplishments, Hayes has done much more for the game of collegiate softball. She is an active member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, where she served as the chair of the diversity committee and as a member of the Hall of Fame committee.
She also served as the MVC representative on the NCAA Division I Head Coaches Committee and on both the regional and national ranking committees. In her first year at Bradley, Hayes and her staff founded POPS (Peoria Organizing Pride in Softball), with a mission to increase continuity and strengthen the softball presence in the greater Peoria area through education and developmental instruction.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.