The Georgia men’s basketball team has a new head coach. Former Indiana coach Tom Crean recently agreed to a 6-year, $19.2 million contract after Mark Fox was fired following a disappointing season. While the makeup of Crean’s staff at UGA is still up in the air, Georgia fans are eager to learn if assistant coach Jonas Hayes will stay with the program or be told to find work elsewhere.
Hayes has been an assistant coach with the program since 2013. He is also a former player for the Georgia basketball program. He played at Georgia with his brother Jarvis Hayes, who sometimes serves as a TV analyst for Georgia basketball games. Jonas helped send the Dawgs to postseason play twice in his career, once to the NCAA tournament and once to the NIT. The Hayes’ family’s long history with the Dawgs has made him a fan favorite among the Georgia faithful.
Why should Georgia fans care if Tom Crean asks Hayes to be on his staff?
By all accounts, Hayes has made his mark as being a formidable recruiter of high school prospects during his time as an assistant coach and has developed good relationships and networks in the Georgia high school basketball community, something Tom Crean does not yet have. Georgia is still in hot pursuit of many 2018 recruits and having Hayes accompany Crean on recruiting visits could produce great results for the Dawgs.
Another advantage to Hayes remaining on staff is he could provide some much needed help and guidance to Tom Crean as he transitions into his new role as Georgia’s head coach. Having a former player like Hayes on the staff who also has already developed relationships with the current players on the roster would help ensure that the team chemistry is not disrupted too much by a huge staff turnover. Crean will obviously bringing a great deal of much needed change to the team, but it may be very valuable to the current players to have a familiar face like Jonas Hayes to help them adjust to their new head coach’s system.
Again, Georgia has yet to make an official statement as to whether Jonas Hayes will stay on with Tom Crean’s staff. Even if Crean asked him to stay, there have been rumors that programs with head coaching vacancies may be interested in pursuing Hayes to be their head coach. That being said, Georgia fans should hope that Tom Crean asks Hayes to remain on his staff. He’s a legend in the Georgia program and will provide the team with so much value through his experience and recruiting abilities. If he isn’t on Georgia’s staff next season, Crean better move fast in finding a formidable replacement.