Coach Hayes makes a mound visit with Andrew Woodason and current Oakland A's catcher Josh Phegley in 2006.
After a long, rich history in American Legion Baseball, the Wayne Newton Post 346 baseball program had been dormant for a couple of years in the early 1980s. With his older son in high school at the time, John Hayes approached the Terre Haute Wayne Newton Post 346 membership and asked if they would consider reviving the program. He promised them that he would make it a program that Post 346 would be proud to call its own – and he did just that.
Coach Hayes retired from coaching after the 2015 season, after having been the Post 346 skipper since its revival in 1985. It could be argued that there wouldn’t be an American Legion baseball program in Terre Haute today if it weren’t for John Hayes. Under the guidance of Coach Hayes, Wayne Newton Post 346 won 28 Sectional championships, 12 regional championships, 7 state championships, 1 Great Lakes Regional championship, and was runner-up at the Great Lakes Regional three times. Most notably, the 2006 Post 346 team finished as the American Legion World Series Runner-Up. Post 346 also served as the host of the American Legion state finals in 1993, 2008 and 2015, as well as the host of the Great Lakes National Regional in 1995, 2013 and 2014.
Coach Hayes finished with an overall win-loss record of 930-390, and is the all-time coaching leader in Indiana in state championships. Numerous Post 346 players through the years have gone on to play at the college level and several have played professionally.
In addition to coaching, John has been and remains active in the administration of American Legion Baseball at both the state and national levels. He served as a staff member at the American Legion World Series from 1996 through 2014, including serving as the Assistant Tournament Director from 2003 to 2014. He was also the Vice-Chairman of the Indiana American Legion Baseball Committee for 20 years. He continues to serve as a member of the National Baseball Sub-Committee and the National Baseball Appeal Board for American Legion Baseball, as he has done since 2004.
John Hayes and his wife, Sherrie, who also spent countless hours on trips, in the concession stand, and in the bleachers, continue to reside in Terre Haute. They remain important contributors of their time and efforts to Post 346 Baseball, but also enjoy spending winters in Arizona, as well as traveling to the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas to visit their sons, Tom and Mike, and their families.
To Coach Hayes and Sherrie from all former players and fans of Post 346 Baseball, thanks for your years and countless hours of dedication to what has become a beacon of American Legion Baseball in the Midwest.
Three former state champion managers -- Left to Right: Bill Welch (1951-1960), John Hayes (1985-2015) George Murphy (1966-1974)