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Monmouth College's Roger Haynes receives Midwest Conference's prestigious Meritorious Service Award

Roger Haynes, Monmouth College's director of athletics, recreation and fitness, has received the Midwest Conference's prestigious Meritorious Service Award.

Haynes has been connected with the conference since enrolling at the College in 1978 and competing for the Fighting Scots. He was a talented student-athlete who won multiple MWC championships in track and field, but it has been his contributions as a head coach - spanning from 1984 until his retirement from coaching at the end of the 2022 season - that led to his honor.

"It was a great pleasure to coach so many talented and motivated student-athletes over the years," said Haynes. "It is because of them that we've enjoyed all the success we've had."

Coaching them up

There's an element of truth to that sentiment as, after all, Haynes wasn't the one running the races or soaring over the bar. But it is because of his thorough knowledge of his sport - how to train for it, and how to recruit, motivate and encourage student-athletes - that Monmouth enjoyed the success it did as a track and field dynasty, winning a combined 83 men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field conference titles.

There are countless examples of Haynes taking a student-athlete who was not much better than average in high school - and certainly not with All-State pedigree - and helping that young person reach new levels. The "poster athlete" for the benefit of Haynes' coaching was Tyler Hannam.

An average high jumper in high school with a personal best of an even 6 feet, Hannam didn't plan to compete in track and field for the Scots. But after being encouraged by Haynes to give the sport a try at the collegiate level, and after following the training regimen Haynes prescribed, Hannam began to see improvement. He kept on improving in the high jump throughout his career, topping out at just a fraction of an inch under 7 feet and winning a national championship, one of 12 national titles that individuals coached by Haynes have won.

"I give all the credit to Coach Haynes," said Hannam in a recent interview that looked back a decade on his national title. "He helped me develop a passion for knowledge about the sport. He had so much information to give, and all of it was right."

Building a dynasty

Hannam's story is not uncommon. More than 200 student-athletes have earned All-American honors while competing for Haynes. The Scots had at least one All-American every season from 1985 - Haynes' second season in charge of the men's team - through 2021.

Competing as a team at the national level, the Fighting Scots finished in the top four of the NCAA four times, with a high of second place at the 2008 men's indoor championships. Haynes oversaw 23 teams that finished in the top 20 nationally.

In 2007, Haynes was named the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association Men's Indoor National Coach of the Year, and he was named the Midwest Region Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 2016. He's also a member of the College's M Club Hall of Fame.

"Pick your legendary coach - Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Tara VanDerveer, Vince Lombardi, Gregg Popovich - that's Roger Haynes in NCAA Division III track and field," said Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt on the occasion of Haynes' retirement from coaching.

At the conference level, Haynes' achievements are staggering. Leading the Scots at his final MWC meet in 2022, he was named Midwest Conference Track and Field Coach of the year for the 53rd time following a championship by his women's team, which he coached for 22 years. He led the men's team for 39 seasons. While accumulating those 83 league titles, his teams won either an indoor or outdoor men's or women's Midwest Conference championship - many years, all four championships - each year since 2001.

During his last 14 years of coaching, Haynes also oversaw Monmouth's strong athletics program, serving as director of athletics, recreation and fitness - which included mentoring and developing young coaches.

One of the coaches he's developed over the years - his successor for the track and field program, Brian Woodard - put together the annual Roger Haynes Invitational indoor track meet, which debuted in 2023.

"Track and field has been a huge part of his life for all his life, and to honor him in this way is more meaningful than simply giving him a plaque," said Woodard prior to the inaugural meet. "Relationships were a huge part of his coaching career, and they still are. He's still passing on his knowledge to other Monmouth coaches, myself included."

The 2023 event drew more than 100 of those "talented and motivated student-athletes" to return to campus and pay tribute to the coach who had shaped their college athletic careers and, in so many cases, the trajectory of their lives, as well.

Meritorious service to his alma mater, indeed.

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