Hayes ready to tackle competition as new head football coach


Brad Tammaro

“I’m excited and extremely grateful for this opportunity. The love, passion and enthusiasm I have for this building is second to none. There is no other place I would want to be a head football coach than Lemont High School,” said coach Willie Hayes. “This place gave me everything I wanted and was able to build me into the man I am today, so I want to make sure I do that for our student athletes.”

Ella Murray, Web Editor

Following head football coach Bret Kooi’s retirement, William “Willie” Hayes will be taking over the position for the 2023 season. Hayes graduated from Lemont in 2008 and was known as a star of the football team in 2005, 2006 and 2007. 

Hayes was a varsity starting linebacker for three years and helped Lemont to a 29-8 record, two conference titles and reached the playoffs each season. He was named Suburban Prairie-East Defensive Player of the Year in 2005 and was an all-area pick in 2006 and 2007.

Hayes attended North Central College from 2008 to 2011 and played with the Cardinals, ending with a 41-6 record. He served as a starting linebacker or defensive end for three seasons. He was awarded an all-conference performer and served as team captain during his junior and senior seasons.

“Playing here [as a student athlete] you have an experience actually playing the game. Coaching is a different aspect because you have so many kids relying on you and making sure that they’re doing the right thing,” said Hayes. 

Hayes joined the Lemont staff in 2013 as a Physical Education and Special Education teacher and instructor. 

Starting in 2012, Hayes served as assistant varsity coach for 12 seasons. Additionally, he spent five seasons as a defensive coordinator and also helped with off-season strength and speed programs. 

“I want to make sure our student athletes are successful on and off the field. I think football is an extremely great platform for people to build their leadership skills, teamwork and team ethic,” said Hayes. “ Football is very important in this community and school, so I want to make sure we do not let those people down.”

Hayes is very focused and ready to support the football program. He plans to not change anything major, but is eager to get the season started. 

“The biggest [concern] for me is that this school and this community means so much to me that I don’t want to let anyone down. I think my work ethic and my determination to make sure we are successful and our student athletes are successful is what’s going to help eliminate that pressure and stress,” said Hayes.