SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 4, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Peabody girls lax founder Hayes headed to UMass-Boston Hall of Fame

Jean Deplacido
The Salem News

---- — Dan Hayes, the father of Peabody girls’ lacrosse, will be inducted in the UMass Boston Athletic Hall of Fame. Hayes, a 1978 graduate of the university, is one of seven to be honored at the ceremony next Thursday night at the Student Reception Center on the Dorchester campus.

“It’s a pretty nice honor, and it took me completely by surprise,” said Hayes, who was an outstanding lacrosse player for the Beacons. “I have to give a speech, and I will thank all the people that have helped make my career special. From what I’ve heard there are around 300 people at the dinner and induction ceremony.

“Last spring I got a call from a member of the nomination committee, and was told I had been nominated. I had to forward all the information from my years at UMass Boston and got another call in June telling me I was going in.”

Hayes was a prolific scorer at Burlington High, captaining the team as a senior when he led the Red Devils in goals, assists, and points. He went on to play all four years in college and three of the four seasons the Beacons won league titles. Hayes captained a Colonial League champion team in his senior year.

“I played attack in high school, but switched to midfield in college,” he said. “We had a very strong team and played Division 1 schools including BC and Holy Cross. We beat them both, and had success against some pretty good NESCAC teams like Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Colby.”

“In my junior year we went to Maine and beat Bowdoin, 10-9 in a very exciting game. We consistently beat Colby, and also played Tufts. I still remember defeating Middlebury up in Vermont in the ECAC tournament in 1979 when I was an assistant coach. I played at UMass Boston for four years and spent the next two as a coach. It was a lot of fun.”

Hayes finished up his playing career in style. The Beacons went 11-2, won the Colonial League, and he was named a first team league all-star.

“The highlight for me personally was being invited to play in the All New England East-West All Star game at BU,” said Hayes. “It’s for seniors from all three divisions, and I scored two goals. That was a great way to end my career.”

Hayes was the inaugural coach for Peabody girls and Lowell boys varsity lacrosse. He also coached at Bedford, ULowell, and served as the freshman boys’ coach at Peabody under Kevin Houlden. He continued to help Houlden and current coach Tony O’Donnell with his excellent scouting reports.

“Dan has a great passion for the sport,” said O’Donnell. “He supports us any way he can, and is so enthusiastic. He’s a student of the game, and his insight truly helps us.”

“I’ve had some wonderful experiences because of lacrosse,” Hayes said. “I played football in high school, too, but lacrosse was my best sport. I’m delighted the Peabody girls’ program has grown so much and been so successful over the years. I took Bedford to the playoffs my first year there as head coach, and that was also very exciting. It’s been a good career, and I’ve worked with some wonderful people over the years.

“When I was at Bedford we played Peabody and (coach) Bob Danish. We beat them, 6-5 in overtime on the Peabody football field. I knew some Peabody people before I arrived to coach the Peabody girls. People tease me about losing to Bob, but that didn’t happen. He’s a good friend, and when Bob retired he gave me his desk.”

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Gregg Kobelski had fully recovered from a shoulder injury suffered in his junior year at St. John’s Prep, and was off to a great start this season, but the senior fullback dislocated his other shoulder in the Central Catholic game two weeks ago. He is out for the rest of the year and facing surgery.

“It’s disappointing,” said Kobelski, who hopes to keep playing in college. “I have to wait until the swelling goes down before getting surgery. Last year I hurt my other shoulder during the season, but it wasn’t a full dislocation. It was still bothering me after the Super Bowl, and the doctor told me I needed surgery. I missed last year’s lacrosse season, but was fully recovered before getting hurt late in the Central Catholic game.”

Kobelski, who lives in Andover, was chosen to be one of the game captains for last week’s Homecoming Game against Everett even though he wasn’t suited up.

“That was a real nice honor,” he said. “This season they worked me into the offense more, and I got to carry the ball a few times as well as make a couple of catches. I’m disappointed to be out, and it’s a real tough break that Johnny (Thomas) went down (with a season ending torn ACL).

“We’re lucky to have Cody Harwood, who is a good running back. He would probably start for most other schools. Pat McDermott took over at fullback after I went down, and he hits hard. I think we’re going to be okay.”

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You can contact Salem News correspondent Jean DePlacido at JMDePlacido@aol.com.