Jack Hayes enters his sixth year as Hofstra University’s director of athletics extremely optimistic that the Pride sports teams he oversees are on their way to successful 2009/2010 seasons thanks to the return of several Colonial Athletic Association award winners. Hayes sat down with “Inside the Pride” to discuss how the Hofstra athletics program is faring during these challenging economic times, recent facility improvements that have been undertaken and his vision to bring NCAA men’s and women’s lacrosse championship events to Shuart Stadium on a regular basis.
Inside the Pride: What has been your most proud accomplishment since being named Hofstra athletic director five years ago?
Jack Hayes: The men and women that have come to Hofstra for athletics continue to be happy about their experience here. This is a result of coaches that we have, facilities that we have built or enhanced, schedules that we have put together for our programs and academic support that we have been able to provide. I think it is a combination of a lot of different things but it is my most proud accomplishment that the students who graduate are happy with their experience at Hofstra.
Inside the Pride: How has the downturn in the U.S economy affected Hofstra athletics and what steps have been done to try and combat these challenging conditions?
Jack Hayes: It has affected all athletics programs at all schools. Our fundraising numbers the last few years have increased and our development staff and our coaches, who are all so involved in the fundraising effort, have done an outstanding job. But we have had to look at how we operate on a day-to-day basis, what teams we play, where we travel and I don’t think that is any different than what any other school has gone through.
Inside the Pride: What role do facilities rentals to outside groups play in creating revenue for the athletics program?
Jack Hayes: Our facilities rentals are an important part of how we generate revenue for athletics. That really has not changed as we continue to do that, but there are certain times of the year where it is very difficult to do it. You don’t want to do it in a way that impacts our current student-athletes and our coaches so a lot of that is done over the summer, over vacation periods, but we do it whenever we can.
Inside the Pride: Talk about some of the facilities enhancements that have been made recently?
Jack Hayes: The area of facility enhancement is never-ending. There is always a need to grow, to improve and to be better than our opponents. Structurally when I came here we were very sound with Shuart Stadium, the arena, PFC, all very, very good facilities. But there are things we have needed to do within those facilities such as locker room renovations, re-surfacing Shuart Stadium with field turf, building academic labs, renovating the training rooms, building the field hockey facility, a new wrestling practice facility and a new media room at the Mack Sports Complex that will also double as a film room for men’s and women’s basketball. Those have all been things to provide our students with the best resources to be successful academically and athletically and to put us in a competitive situation in the recruitment process.
Inside the Pride: Any facility enhancements that are planned for the near-future?
Jack Hayes: The baseball facility project with adequate seating and a press box will start very soon and should be up by the start of the baseball season.
Inside the Pride: With the 2009 NCAA men’s lacrosse quarterfinals being a major success, when are you hoping to see the event return to Shuart Stadium and could a women’s lacrosse Final Four at Hofstra also be on the horizon?
Jack Hayes: We will continue to put a bid in every year. It is an important event and I think it is Hofstra’s obligation to the fans of Long Island, who are so enthusiastic about the sport of lacrosse, that we need to have it here as often as we can. We had it here in 2009 because we were able to make slight changes to the commencement schedule. We didn’t want to put a bid in for 2010 because we didn’t know if those changes would prove to be problematic. So instead we decided to do it in 2009 and see how it works and everyone on campus had a positive reaction to it. Therefore we already have submitted bids for 2011 and 2012. We also will continue to submit bids for the women’s lacrosse Final Four. Hopefully we can attract both events to Hofstra in the near future.