The Miami University baseball program has a new leader.
Dan Hayden, an assistant coach at Xavier the last three years and a former MU player, was hired Tuesday to replace Dan Simonds, who left to become associate head coach at Indiana.
“Miami’s just a great place,” Hayden said. “It’s done a lot for me in my development as a player, person and coach. Winning championships is absolutely the goal at Miami. I would have it no other way.
“I expect our team GPA to be very good and our work in the community to be very good, and I expect our wins on the field to be numerous. The easiest way to judge me is wins and losses, so that’s very, very important, but it’s not the only important thing.”
The 29-year-old Hayden coached at MU during the 2009 (director of baseball operations) and 2010 (volunteer assistant) campaigns. He left for Xavier in January of 2011.
Hayden was a catcher for the RedHawks as a freshman in 2004, opting to transfer to XU after Simonds and current Musketeers head coach Scott Googins left Miami and moved to Victory Parkway.
“The familiarity and passion that Danny brings to Miami will move our program forward quickly,” Miami athletic director David Sayler said. “I know we have hired a rising star in the coaching ranks.”
Hayden said it was Googins who urged him to apply for the MU job. He was interviewed about a week ago.
“Miami gave me my first chance to play college baseball, and I was absolutely infatuated with the program back then,” Hayden said. “I wasn’t the most talented player out there, so I looked for any extra way I could to make myself a better player.
“As Miami’s head coach, it should be evident to people how much we’ll emphasize hard work. I think we’ll be the scrappiest team around. Recruiting to Miami should be an easy job for me because it sells itself. I’ll just try not to screw it up when players meet me.”
Hayden may be facing a little more pressure because Miami’s baseball complex, Stanley G. McKie Field at Joseph P. Hayden Jr. Park, bears his grandfather’s name. The Hayden Family Foundation established the lead gift toward the planned Baseball Legacy Project at Miami.
“That comes with scrutiny and people thinking different things,” Hayden said. “My job is to go in there and work my butt off so that if anybody thinks Miami didn’t make a great hire, I can change their mind very, very quickly.”
Hayden has a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Xavier. He is a McNicholas High School graduate.