Jim Hayford has been hired as the new men’s head basketball coach and hopes to revitalize a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1969. He left a successful sixyear run at Eastern Washington, where he led the Eagles to the NCAA tournament in 2015.
Jim Hayford brings high expectations with him to Seattle U.
Hayford has been a head coach at the college level for 18 years and coached over 500 games. “Our plan is to get better every single day and to reach our full potential. If we do that, the scoreboard will take care of itself,” Hayford said. “We need to win here. That’s what I’ve been brought here to do and we’re going to build a winning program.” The Redhawks have only had two winning seasons in the past eight years and placed sixth in the WAC with a record of 5-9.
The team will lose three starters and four seniors. Hayford has already had three transfers commit to SU for next year. “As we enter this first year, I’m inheriting a roster that maybe has different skill sets than all the types of players we’re going to recruit in the future. It might not look this year like it’s going to look in two or three years. That requires me to adjust to my players and their skill sets more so than adjusting to me,” Hayford said. “It’s going to be a transformative process that involves both of us.”
Hayford is excited for the potential of Seattle U and feels the program will be a good match for him. “I felt like the opportunity to put my coaching philosophy and methods at a university with a similar mission and purpose would be a great match for me personally. You have a great academic school and a great city,” he said.
One of Hayford’s biggest goals is for each student to reach their full potential, both on and off the court. “We’re going to instill a culture where we do our very best to win every single day, whatever we’re doing,” he said. Hayford will be the school’s 16th men’s basketball coach and is the first coaching hire for new athletic director, Shaney Fink.
Hayford has compiled a 360-175 record in his 18 years of being a head coach. He first started coaching when he was in college for a high school team. “I knew I wanted to do something where my life was an investment into other lives that would make a difference in society. The people that had the biggest impact on me were coaches,” Hayford said. “I had enjoyed the practicum experience I had of coaching in college and thought this could match my life’s vocation and my life’s occupation on the same track.”
A difference has been made at every school that Hayford has coached at. He is known for developing teams and has maintained high reputations at each one. Although, the wins and losses aren’t what he would define as his biggest accomplishments.
“It’s 25 years plus of great relationships with people that are now excellent leaders in society,” Hayford said. There is hope that the Redhawks will have another NCAA appearance after almost fifty years without one.
Michelle may be reached at