MHS Athletic Director Greg Hays Honored
On Sunday May 29, 2011, more than 150 former athletes, past and present colleagues, family and lifelong friends gathered at American Legion Post 561 to surprise, honor and trade memories with retiring McConnellsburg High School Athletic Director and science teacher Greg Hays.
Longtime colleague and friend Audrey Hall introduced Hays’ lifelong friend, “D. J.” Bevevino, whose remarks set the tone for a celebration that was nostalgic, heart-rending and entertaining, beginning with stories of a young “Red” Hays as an athlete and tracing his journey to McConnellsburg High School, where he would spend the next 33 years. Bevevino said, “Greg took such pride in Mc- Connellsburg High School that he made us believe it was the greatest school in the state of Pennsylvania. In fact by the time he was finished giving us the tour and showing us the trophy case, he had us half believing that the United States of America had actually borrowed the colors red, white and blue from McConnellsburg.”
Following Bevevino’s remarks, coach and teacher Dot Doyle, one of Hays’ many assistant coaches, presented a video montage of Hays’ career. She fondly recounted many of Hays’ idiosyncrasies as a head coach and athletic director and emphasized his commitment to the athletic program at McConnellsburg as well as his tireless work with the Varsity Club, a club that provides much of the funding for awards, scholarships, and the promotion of all sports. One of Hays’ pet projects is the C. Owen Fries Athletic Scholarship. As a fellow science teacher, Doyle also commented on his dedication in the classroom.
Next, Jeff Batzel, athletic director of Northern Bedford High School and PIAA District 5 athletic director representative, entertained the group with many of Hays’ accomplishments involving interscholastic competition. “For years, Greg Hays has been the face of McConnellsburg High School, and the district could not ask for a better representative. Always fair, Hays has integrity, a quality sadly lacking in today’s society.” He went on to comment that Hays has so many long-standing relationships because of who he is as a person.
Flanked by extended family at the head table, including his wife, his brother and his mother, Hays was surprised to receive a call from recently honored PIAA Hall of Fame athlete Kim Spriggs Cameron. Following that, longtime Central Fulton School District Board member and close personal friend Parker Knepper made a presentation of a metrological clock. In accepting the gift, Hays expressed that being honored by Knepper was especially heartfelt because Knepper was one of his closest mentors.
To add to the honors of the afternoon, former athlete Dana Shearer Winter make a presentation of an “84 Championship Way” street sign for one of the school’s many street entries commemorating the 1984 Girls State Track Championship.
Last but not least, another former athlete, Dr. Barry Spriggs presented Hays with a gold ring signifying his years of service to MHS. The ring was a combined gift from a host of friends and colleagues. Spriggs drew many smiles as he recounted what it was like to be an athlete for Hays, emphasizing that Hays taught him the meaning of the word commitment.
Hays’ predecessor, Allen Cover, another close Hays mentor, concluded the activities with high praise and introduced the guest of honor for some final thoughts.
Taking the mike, Hays spoke with pride of all the athletes in attendance, noting their accomplishments and saying, “What more could anyone ask for than this? I am fortunate. I have been blessed. I am lucky. My mother is 86 years old, and she’s still doing pretty well. The time that I have taken away from my family for this school was time well spent. But now I hope to spend more family time with my mother and Tim. So I have things to do. I thank you all for making this a special time.”