LUBBOCK, Texas (July 9, 2009) - Larry Hays has served as a men's and women's basketball head coach and a baseball head coach at Lubbock Christian University, and Thursday, Lubbock Christian University President Dr. Ken L. Jones introduced Hays as the new head softball coach at a press conference held inside the Bozeman Room on the LCU campus.
Hays, an individual that always places God first, family second, and coaching third, accepts the position to become the program's second head coach. He replaces his son Shanon, who started the program and left in June to accept the head coaching position with the Texas Tech University softball program. In two seasons, Shanon took the Lady Chaps program to consecutive NAIA National Championship appearances and claimed the 2008 NAIA softball title in their inaugural season. The Lady Chaps posted a 114-17 (87%) record under Shanon's guidance, and Shanon contributed his knowledge of the game of softball to his father Larry.
Although Larry Hays is mostly known as the former Texas Tech and Lubbock Christian baseball coach, he is a former professional softball pitcher. He played professional fastpitch softball in Mobile, Ala., Montreal and St. Louis. His motivation in returning back to softball stems from the time spent over the past two seasons assisting Shanon. He attended several tournaments last season and developed a bond with the team appearing at the NAIA National Championship the past two seasons.
Larry's roots with Lubbock Christian University reach very deep into the university's foundation. The Dora, New Mexico native attended what was then Lubbock Christian College and was a member of the Pioneers basketball team while earning an Associates of Arts degree in 1964. He then attended Eastern New Mexico University, where he earned a Bachelors (1966) and Masters degree (1969). Hays returned to Lubbock Christian College as they were transitioning from a junior college to a four-year college, and his first task was serving as the head coach of the men's basketball team. In 1972, he reinstated the suspended baseball program at LCC and his coaching reign with the Chaps began his stepping stone to becoming an ambassador of the sport in the South Plains. The Chaps went 695-381-1 under Hays, collecting eight NAIA District titles , two area championships and a NAIA national title in 1983. Along with his baseball coaching duties, Hays also served as the head coach of the women's basketball program (1982-1983) and athletic director (1979-1986). He was a chairman of the NAIA Baseball Rating Committee and also was instrumental in the NAIA World Series appearing in Lubbock from 1981-1983.
Hays left LCU in 1986 and became the head baseball coach at Texas Tech. In 22 seasons with the Red Raiders, Hays only endured two losing seasons and compiled a record of 814-479-3. Hays led the Red Raiders to two regular-season conference championships, two conference tournament championships and nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. He took a 550-576 Tech program and left with the program boasting a 1,365-1,054-9 mark.
He stepped down from Texas Tech as one of only four coaches in NCAA history to achieve over 1,500 wins. Hays' achievements, including serving as a coach on the 1997 Team USA baseball team, have not been overlooked. In 1991, LCU inducted Hays into their Hall of Honor. LCU also renamed their baseball facility Hays Field in 1999 to honor not only Larry, but his entire family. On November 15, 2001, Hays became the first college baseball coach in the state to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame based within the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco. He has also been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Larry has been married to the former Nell Ainsworth for over 44 years. They have five children (Daren, Shanon, Bandi, Justin, and Melanie), eight granddaughters (Brittany Kaye, Brogan Leigh, Allie, Ashleigh, Kaytee & Kelsee, Hampton Renee and Mary Elizabeth) and three grandsons (Hunter, Heath and Joshua Hays Redding). Like Larry, his three sons have had a passion for the coaching profession. Hays hired Daren in June of 2000 and is currently the director of operations at Texas Tech, while Shanon is currently the head softball coach at Texas Tech University.