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Fitting tribute: N.C. A&T, WSSU players gather to honor legendary Bill Hayes

By John Dell, Winston-Salem Journal, 06/02/21, 9:15AM EDT

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Hayes finally found a homecoming he could embrace...

Bill Hayes always hated homecoming when he was coaching at Winston-Salem State and N.C. A&T. Too many distractions on those weekends could lead his teams down the wrong path.

Hayes finally found a homecoming he could embrace as he watched his football life flash before his eyes on Saturday night at Maple Chase Golf & Country Club in Winston-Salem.

Hayes, 77, was brought to tears a few times as around 20 of his best former players from each school gathered for a dinner to honor a man who shaped their lives.

The dinner was the brainstorm of A&T’s Maseo Bolin and WSSU’s Robert Weeks at Hayes’ home club, where he has a single-digit golf handicap and plays four or five times a week. “Let’s honor the man now when he’s above ground and he can appreciate it,” Weeks said. “And I think he is having a great time.”

Hayes, nicknamed “Wild Bill,” was as old-school as they come, demanding more from his players than they ever expected.

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