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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) announced today that William L. 'Bill" Hayes, athletic director since January 2010, will retire on February 28, 2014.

"Over the last year or so, Bill and I have had on and off conversations about when he might retire", said Chancellor Donald Reaves, who hired Bill in late 2009. "One of the reasons that I hired Bill Hayes was because he was a seasoned administrator and I knew his impact would be immediate. Since his arrival Bill has worked tirelessly to enhance the stature of our athletic program and in doing so our teams have won 14 conference championships under his leadership," Reaves noted.

"Moreover, the success of our athletics program under Bill's direction has generated increased awareness for WSSU and for the greater Winston-Salem community," Reaves added. "We appreciate tremendously the many contributions that Bill has made and we certainly wish him the best as he enters this much deserved time of retirement."

The university will launch a national search to find a replacement for Hayes as quickly as possible.

After graduating from N. C. Central University, Hayes began his coaching career as an assistant high school football coach and was the first African American to coach at a predominately white high school in Winston-Salem. He was also the first African American coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference when he served as offensive backs coach at Wake Forest University. Named head football coach at WSSU in 1976, Hayes led the Rams to three conference championships and back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 1977 and 1978. Hayes left WSSU in 1988 to become head football coach at North Carolina A&T State University where he also had a winning record during his 15 year tenure and is still the winningest coach in North Carolina A&T State University's history.

Following an outstanding career as a coach, Hayes became athletic director at North Carolina Central University in 2003 and at Florida A&M University in 2007.

A member of the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina A&T State University Sports Hall of Fame, Winston-Salem State University C.E. Big House Gaines Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina Central Alex Rivera Sports Hall of Fame, CIAA Sports Hall of Fame, and will be inducted into the MEAC Conference Hall of Fame on March 14, 2014. Hayes also has been named Coach of the Year in both the CIAA and MEAC. In addition to honors received for his athletic achievements, he has earned the Silver Beaver Award, the highest state award, and the Silver Antelope Award, the highest regional award, for his volunteer work with the Boy Scouts.