Passing the Record: Dior Ford and Coach Hayes

Men’s basketball senior Dior Ford surpasses his head coach Jim Hayes on Hamline’s all-time scoring list.


Cole Mayer

Senior Dior Ford along side Head Coach Jim Hayes. Ford surpasses his head coach on Hamline’s all-time scoring list for men’s basketball on Jan. 24, 2015, against the Concordia Cobbers in Moorhead, Minn.

Paul Patane, Senior Reporter

Jim Hayes knows what Hamline University and the basketball program in particular is all about. He suited up for the Pipers from 1990 until 1994. Along the way, he scored 1240 points and gobbled up 554 rebounds. Those impressive stats hold up well in the Piper record books but Hayes is being passed by one of his players as he drops from ninth all-time in points scored to tenth. Hayes is fourth all-time in rebounds.

The player passing Hayes is senior Dior Ford. In the three seasons and change played, Ford is racking up his own list of accomplishments as he tries to lead his team into the postseason. As Ford climbs from tenth place into ninth, he’s done so averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season.

Hayes and Ford are in their second season together, and they have a special bond not just as coach and athlete, but as elite Piper hoops players. When the basketball program needed a new coach a couple years ago, Ford embraced the opportunity to have Hayes as his coach. At the time, players on the team were presented with the opportunity to interview with coaches to get a feel for how the program would move forward.

“When we were interviewing for coaches, Hayes was our first choice,” Ford said.

Hayes was already familiar with coaching Piper basketball. After graduating, he served as an assistant coach for a decade before also coaching at Carleton and St. Thomas. Like Ford, Hayes was thrilled to come back to Hamline and be head coach.

“It was a great experience as a student athlete here. Coming back and stepping in was a dream come true,” Hayes said.

Hayes knew soon after finishing his playing career that he’d like to give coaching a shot. “Pretty quickly, I needed to student coach after I graduated and knew this was something I’d like to do. The light bulb clicked,” Hayes said.

Seeing a player of Ford’s caliber, both physically and as a scorer is a rare thing on the court.

“Dior’s one of the most versatile basketball players in the conference. He’s slightly more athletic than I was,” Hayes said with an envious smirk.

Ford began the 2014-2015 season 11th on the all-time points scored list. Early on, he surpassed Dave Polson (1965-1969) on the scoring list to move into 10th all-time. Soon after that accomplishment, he set his sights on passing Hayes.

As great as making history is, Ford is most committed to winning and going out on a high note.

“Winning is the reason I came to Hamline to begin with. I want to make the playoffs and do well in the tournament,” Ford said.

Hayes finds some of Ford’s experiences to be personally relatable with his playing career.

“My senior year, when we went through a coaching change, we ended up having a very successful year. Things kind of came together. We had a big group of seniors and it was a lot of fun,” Hayes said.

After graduating this coming spring, Ford isn’t certain of what his future holds but he’s committed to helping his university and basketball program moving forward.

“I have to try and keep this program the best,” he said.

Ford has also gained a perspective appreciative of what he’s been able to be a part of.

“To go down a huge list of names…. It’s fun to be a part of the program and history,” Ford said.

Ford plans to keep his options open while he finishes his final season playing Piper hoops.

“I may focus on going to grad school to get my master’s in psychology or go home to Arizona. Maybe if I did get a master’s I could be an assistant [coach] and a counselor at school,” Ford said.

Ford emphasises the respect he has for Hayes and doesn’t intend to pick on his coach for surpassing him in career scoring.

“We’ll do it the polite, appropriate way,” Ford said.

Hayes has had the unique ability as coach to be able to play around with Ford as he has slowly watched his record be chipped away. Before winter break began, Hayes was asked if he would consider cutting down Ford’s minutes to mess with him. Hayes jokingly said, “we’ll see when he gets a little closer.”