John Hayes Obituary, Blair County Hall of Fame Coach dies

After hearing the tragic news of the demise of renowned high school football coach John Hayes, Blair County has been plunged into sadness. John Hayes, a renowned figure in Pennsylvania high school football, has passed away, according to the Excelsior Fire Department. It is impossible to overstate the enormous influence he had on the neighbourhood, the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils, and the sports industry as a whole.

Coach Hayes was honoured by the county by being inducted into the distinguished Blair County Sports Hall of Fame in 2022. This was a fitting homage to a career characterized by unmatched commitment, enthusiasm, and success. As we reflect on his life and legacy, it becomes apparent that Coach Hayes was more than just a coach; he was a mentor, an inspiration, and a beacon of hope for countless athletes and students whose lives he touched.

John Hayes’ journey into the annals of high school football history began with his tenure as the head coach of the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils, a position he held for an astounding 38 years. Over nearly four decades, Coach Hayes molded young athletes into champions, fostering an environment of discipline, teamwork, and excellence.

During his illustrious career, Hayes achieved remarkable milestones, becoming one of the most respected and successful high school football coaches in Pennsylvania. At the time of his retirement, he was the 10th-winningest coach in PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) football history, with an astonishing 323 victories to his name. His unwavering commitment to his players, the game, and the community earned him widespread admiration and reverence.

While Coach Hayes may have slipped to 12th place in the all-time wins list, his impact on the lives of those he coached and taught is immeasurable and will forever be etched in the hearts of the Bellwood-Antis community.

Beyond his prowess on the football field, John Hayes was an educator and a mentor who left an indelible mark on his students. Many members of the Excelsior Fire Department had the privilege of being taught or coached by Hayes during their time at the Bellwood-Antis School District. It is a testament to his character and influence that so many of his former students have chosen to serve their community as first responders.

Coach Hayes had a unique ability to inspire his students and athletes to reach for greatness, not just in sports but in life. He instilled in them the values of hard work, perseverance, and integrity. Many of his former players went on to achieve success not only on the football field but also in their careers and personal lives, a testament to the lasting impact of his guidance.

As the news of Coach Hayes’ passing reverberates throughout Blair County, there is a profound sense of loss. However, it is also a time to celebrate the life and legacy of a man who dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the betterment of his community and the development of young minds.

The Blair County Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2022 was a well-deserved recognition of Coach Hayes’ contributions to the world of sports. It was a moment of pride for not only him but also for the countless individuals he inspired and influenced over the years.

In the hearts of his former players, students, and the Bellwood-Antis community, Coach Hayes’ memory will continue to live on. His lessons in sportsmanship, leadership, and the importance of giving back will echo through the generations to come. The impact he had on his community is immeasurable and will serve as a guiding light for those who follow in his footsteps.

We say goodbye to Coach John Hayes with sorrowful hearts, but we also feel incredibly grateful for the amazing life he led and the legacy he leaves behind. Those who had the honour of knowing him will always be grateful for his commitment to his students and athletes, his unwavering pursuit of perfection, and his position as a mentor.

The experiences and recollections of people like Coach Hayes provide consolation and inspiration through difficult times. His life serves as a reminder that greatness isn’t determined by wins and defeats alone, but also by the positive influence one has on other people’s lives.

As the Blair County community mourns the loss of a beloved figure, we also celebrate the enduring legacy of Coach John Hayes. His spirit will forever be a part of the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils, the Excelsior Fire Department, and the hearts of all those who were fortunate enough to know him.

In the words of Vince Lombardi, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Coach Hayes made the most of what he had, and in doing so, he enriched the lives of countless individuals and left an indelible mark on the world of sports and education. His legacy will continue to inspire generations to come, reminding us all of the power of passion, dedication, and the lasting impact of a life well-lived.