The Bronchos’ New Jockey
December 6, 2014: The Cameron University Aggies play against the Oklahoma Christian University Eagles in the Eagles Nest on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. (Provided/ Murray Evans, Oklahoma Christian University).
Former Oklahoma Christian University basketball Head Coach, Dan Hays will join the University of Central Oklahoma’s Men’s basketball staff where he will serve as a volunteer assistant this year.
“I just love basketball and if I can help you win one more game than maybe it’s worth it,” said Hays.
As the coach of the Eagles, OCU made it to the NAIA Division I tournament nine times, reaching the Sweet 16 five times.
After resigning as the head coach at OCU in 2016 after his 33rd season, Hays had a brief stint as an assistant coach at Mustang high school.
Hays said after he resigned that he didn’t know what lied ahead, but he would be involved in basketball somehow.
His journey to UCO started when he followed up on a player he used to help, Tanner Heiden, who was planning to walk-on for UCO’s basketball team. Hays decided to call UCO Head Coach Tom Hankins to see what the plan was for Heiden.
During their conversation, Hays mentioned how Southwestern Oklahoma wanted him to come be their assistant coach, but the distance he would have to travel was an issue.
“I promised my wife that I wouldn’t move from Edmond because we were so happy here,” said Hays. “She had been a coaches wife for 48-years it’s about time I didn’t move her.”
Hearing this, Hays said Hankins told him he was going to talk to his assistants about possibly bringing him onto their coaching staff.
Living only several miles from the gym, Hays told Hankins he was serious about joining.
Hays said he got a phone call early the next week from Hankins to meet him in the gym and the deal was done. Hankins asked Hays, “How do you think you’ll look in blue and gold?” to which Hays replied “Tom all I care about is getting wood under my feet.”
The all-time leader in wins for an Oklahoma men’s basketball coach at a four-year college was joining the Bronchos bench.
Coaching basketball for nearly 50 years, Hays said he thinks another set of eyes will help the team and his experience as a head coach will benefit the Bronchos.
“The longest 18 inches in the world is going from assistant coach to head basketball coach,” said Hays. “It’s a whole different world.”
The former OCU head coach hasn’t been here long, but he said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from the Bronchos team so far.
“I don’t see why they can’t contend to be one of the top tier teams in the league,” said Hays.
The Bronchos return five starters and added two transfers from Division I schools in Anthony Roberson (Texas State) and Phabian Glasco (Western Kentucky).
The Bronchos open their season on Nov. 10, against Southeastern in Alva.
But it’s their third game of the year that Hays said will be weird. UCO plays Hays former school, OCU, and when they enter the gym, Hays will have to walk onto the court that has been named after him.
Hays carries the record for the most wins at one school in state history, winning 653 games at OCU. Overall Hays has compiled a record of 724-470.
Hays has earned many awards throughout his 48-years of being a coach and is in the NAIA Hall of Fame. Earlier this year won the Guardians of the Game Award, which recognizes coaches who make an impact on the players and their community.