TOM HAYES' 80
NCEA DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE AWARD
Tom Hayes '80 was always a people person. In today's vernacular that often means someone who is the life of the party, whom people tend to gravitate to, and who has a magnetic personality.
Tom does indeed possess those traits but that definition would fall far short of describing who he really is.
Tom is a people person because he truly cares for those he interacts with. Ever since he walked the halls of Saints Peter and Paul School, this year's NCEA Distinguished Graduate Award recipient always took a genuine concern in others.
"Tom had a maturity about him that belied his age," said his principal Frank Glowaty. "He was one of those rare people who was liked by all of his classmates and teachers because he was so genuine, thoughtful, and caring, traits that are part of his moral fiber. He was also one of the most optimistic people I knew but some of that came from being a lifelong Cubs fan."
A standout basketball player at Peter and Paul who received the Most Valuable Player award on his 8th grade team which was coached by Dave Schmecht, he also played for Benet, and then Benedictine University. "It may sound like a cliche," the 40 year veteran Physical Education teacher remarked who also coached him as a freshman at Benedictine, "but watching Tommy Hayes play point guard was like having another coach on the court. He was cool under pressure, never lost his poise or composure while running our offense, and was almost generous to a fault in spreading the ball around to his teammates."
Not only was Tom recruited to Benedictine to play basketball, but once he declared himself a Theology major, the monks aggressively sought him out for a vocation. Had it not been for his love for SSPP childhood sweetheart, Lucy Mannion Hayes '82, his wife of 28 years, he might be living in the Abbey today.
Tom remains connected with Benedictine serving as a member of their Athletic Advisory Council for 16 years. In addition, he also plays a role with their mentorship program helping Business majors secure employment upon graduation by holding mock job interviews and helping them network themselves into the job opportunities they desire.
His love of basketball and SSPP has led him into several roles at his alma mater. For four years he coached the seventh grade basketball team along with classmate, and good friend, Matt Dingens. "It was the first time those boys played for someone other than their father and was a real plus for the athletic program," noted former Athletic Director Mike Chiarito. "It was rare for a Catholic Jr. High school to have a coach with his strong background and knowledge of the game," he went on to say.
His interest went far beyond X's and O's however. "A lot of people have the ability to do that," Tom said, "but I chose to get involved because I wanted to use the forum of basketball to teach life lessons and grow the boys' spiritual faith." Winning and losing gracefully, teamwork, and sportsmanship were the hallmarks of his approach and his team always broke huddles by saying 'be kind, gracious, and humble.'
Mr. Hayes also served five years on our Advancement Board at the turn of the century and was the co-chair of several of our annual Alumni Basketball Tournaments for the 40 and under crowd, as well as playing and sponsoring his own team.
Tom's leadership qualities have also manifested themselves in parish and community events. He has been a member of the St. Patrick's Residence Golf Committee since 1997 and has helped them raise over $1.6 million in the past twenty years for various projects to improve the grounds and facility for this home for the aged and infirmed. He has also served as an Auctioneer/Spotter for their Gold Key Gala for 15 years, and performs the same function for our parish's Light the Way Christmas party.
Tom and his wife, Lucy, have graduated four sons, Philip '05, Bobby '08, Luke '13, and Tommy '16 from Saints Peter and Paul School and have a daughter, Olivia, in third grade. An avid sports fan, he estimates he has seen over 900 basketball or football games at SSPP between his sons, nephews, and nieces.
While he has been a member of our parish and school for 46 years since his family moved to Naperville from Michigan when he was in second grade, it is likely he will be a Trojan for life as his oldest son, Philip, and his wife, Annie, recently welcomed their first child, Danny Thomas, into the world.
Tom Hayes is an Executive Partner with Esser-Hayes Insurance Agency with the responsibility for revenue growth for the firm he has been with for 26 years. They were recently voted by the Insurance Journal as the Silver Award recipient for being the Best Place to Work in the Insurance Brokerage Industry for 2017.
He will receive his award at the 8:00 a.m. Catholic Schools Week all-school liturgy on Wednesday, January 31.