Troy tennis coach resigns, accepts same position at Mercer

Published 12:53 pm Friday, June 28, 2013

After 11 seasons as the Troy men’s and women’s tennis coach, Eric Hayes has decided to resign and begin a new chapter.

Hayes was introduced as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., on Thursday.

The colorful coach led the men’s team to the 2010 Sun Belt Conference championship and an NCAA Tournament bid. In 2004, the women’s team won the Atlantic Sun title.

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“This was a very hard decision to leave Troy,” Hayes said. “But I’m very confident that I’m leaving the program better than it was than when I arrived. With the men and women each winning championships and going on to the NCAA Tournament in my time at Troy, I know that each will continue to succeed.

“I can’t thank Dr. (Jack) Hawkins, Jr., enough for what he has done for me and the program over the years. The Troy administrative staff has been great to the program and myself and I can’t thank them enough.”

Troy athletic director John Hartwell thanked Hayes for his service.

“We appreciate Eric’s years of service to Troy University and are thankful to him for building a solid foundation for the Troy tennis program,” Hartwell said. “We hate to see him go but wish him and his family the best of luck at Mercer.”

Hayes said that he would look to start a USTA event in Macon similar to that in Troy. While the Troy event’s future is uncertain, city leaders hope it will remain in Troy.

“There are a lot of sponsors and taxpayer money that went into what made it what it was here in Troy,” Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said. “Eric was a vital member of that, but it was not a one-man show. We would hope that the USTA would continue to come to Troy.”

Rob Cioffi, director of communications for USTA Southern, said nothing had been approved and that any comment would be premature.

The tournament is an annual USTA sanctioned event held at the Lunsford Tennis Complex on the campus of Troy University and was led and organized by Hayes.