Chase Hayden named Troy Christian football coach


TROY — It would be hard to imagine Troy Christian finding a better fit to replace Steve Nolan as varsity football coach after the coaching legend retired after his second stint at Troy Christian this past season.

The Eagles kept it in the “family” with the hiring of Chase Hayden.

Hayden is a former player for the Eagles and went on to play at Heidelberg College. He has been a Troy Christian assistant the last two years.

“It is a dream job for me,” Hayden said. “It really is kind of surreal. I played for Troy Christian and I had been an assistant coach the last two years.”

Hayden had a number of conversations with Nolan over those two years.

“I knew Steve (Nolan) was looking to retire,” Hayden said. “I sat down with him several times and talked with him and everything just fell into place. I still talk to Steve.”

Hayden said there will be similarities with Nolan’s team, but at the same time he also wants to put his stamp on the program.

”There are going to be similarities, but I also have ideas about what I want to do,” Hayden said. “I think our first scrimmage is in seven months away and our summer camp is in four and a half months and I have both dates circled on the calendar I am excited.

I think it (his familiarity with Troy Christian) does (make the transition smoother). Troy Christian has been my home since 2012. I am familiar with a lot of the families and even more closer to them now.”

And while Hayden may not have been able to predict the future during his playing days, he always knew he wanted to be a coach.

“I can’t say when I played at Troy Christian I thought I would ever be the coach here,” he said. “But, when I was playing here and even when I was playing at Heidelberg I would always play attention to what was going on and what the coaches were doing. Football has been part of my life for 15, 16 years now as a player and coach.”

Hayden says one advantage he has is the ability to identify with his players.

“I think it gives me an understanding of the players and what they are going through,” he said. “It hasn’t been that long ago I was in their shoes. I can still remember first practice of my senior year and senior night — things like that.”

It will be Troy Christian’s second season in the Three Rivers Conference.

“The TRC will certainly be a challenge,” Hayden said. “You have Milton-Union (last year’s champs) returning almost everyone. But, we look forward to the challenge of the conference. Winning isn’t everything, but we do want to win. I am good friends with (Troy Christian boys basketball coach) Ray Zawadzki. He has the same philosophy.”

The Eagles advanced the D-VII playoffs last year and finished 7-4.

“We lost 14 seniors off a team that made it back to the playoffs,” Hayden said. “I know that sounds like a lot, but we have some key pieces returning. I know everybody thinks it is going to be an uphill climb with losing 14 seniors — that is a lot for a school our size. But, we understand you have to work hard if you want to be great.”

And as a member of the Troy Christian “family”, Hayden can’t wait to get started.

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