Hayes won a gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, setting an Olympic record with a time of 12.37. She finished the 2004 season ranked No. 1 in the world and earned USA Track & Field's Jesse Owens Award that year. She was also a gold medalist in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 Pan American Games.
At UCLA, Hayes captured the NCAA 400m Hurdles title as a senior in 1999 and won a total of seven Pac-10 titles in the hurdles and relays. She was a six-time All-American and helped lead UCLA to three consecutive Pac-10 team titles from 1997-99 and two consecutive runner-up finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships from 1998-99. During her four years as a Bruin from 1996-99, her teams went 39-0 in dual meets.
"We are all very excited to welcome back yet another Bruin as a member of our full time coaching staff," said Maynard. "As an athlete, Joanna's experiences will be an invaluable asset, and as a coach her technical expertise will ignite our student-athletes' development. The addition of Coach Hayes to our staff, in combination with the recent placement of Coach John Henry Johnson, underscores our renewed commitment to the impressive UCLA legacy and tradition in the sprints and hurdles."
Hayes, who graduated from UCLA in 2001 with a degree in Sociology, has been a track and field coach at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles since 2008 and was a coach at the Brentwood Middle School in 2003. She has also started the Joanna Hayes Foundation, which provides support for programs and services that work to develop the whole child with healthy minds, bodies and spirits.
"Returning to UCLA as a coach is such an honor for me, and I would like to thank Mike Maynard, John Henry Johnson, and John Frazier for putting their trust in me and believing that I can benefit this program and help contribute to the exceptional legacy of UCLA track & Field," Hayes said. "To return to my alma mater and have the opportunity to give back to the institution that has given so much to me is a dream come true. I am a Bruin for life!"
Hayes is the third UCLA track and field alum to join the Bruin coaching staff this summer, following the return of John Frazier (UCLA '86) as men's head coach and John Henry Johnson Jr. (UCLA '90) as women's head coach.