Honoring Coach DJ Hayden
This is for Coach DJ Hayden, whose influence on our student-athletes extended beyond the football field. Coach Hayden, despite being new to the SBS coaching staff, quickly became a mentor and source of inspiration, motivation and support for the SBS varsity football team, particularly the defensive backs he coached.
“I’ve never lost a coach in or out of season,” shared Head Football Coach Beck Brydon in a passionate letter to his team. “But God is gracious, merciful and loving. In ways that only God himself knows, Coach Hayden’s sudden passing brought tremendous grief, but also joy.”
DJ Hayden was a former NFL cornerback known for his journey from a life-threatening injury to a successful professional football career. He also had a strong football career at the University of Houston. While his talent was undeniable, Hayden faced a life-threatening setback early in his NFL career. In 2012, he suffered a severe chest injury that required life-saving surgery. Remarkably, Hayden made a full recovery and displayed resilience and determination in his return to the football field. He brought these experiences to his coaching career, influencing SBS students with his unique perspective.
Coach Hayden cared deeply for the students he coached, demonstrating a selfless quality his players longed to emulate. Ethan Dishman ‘25 shared, “Coach Hayden was a great man who always cared for others and brought a positive spirit. He made me believe in myself, and I will never forget the lessons he taught me.”
Senior Jackson Powers agreed, “Coach Hayden was caring and unselfish. He was a mentor to a lot of people, including me.” Dylan Jenkins ‘26 echoed these statements, saying, “Coach Hayden had the most genuine care for the players and the team He wanted to genuinely coach us and see results.”
His influence will continue, not only in the impact he made athletically with his players, but in his example. “I miss him every day. He did nothing sort of motivate me and demand the best from me,” said sophomore Adam Vessel. “He told us that he wanted to get a state title his first year coaching. We are going to win state for him.”
Student after student, player after player, tell the same story - one of Coach Hayden’s dedication, compassion and leadership. Max Bagwell ‘25 said, “I believe a player and coach relationship is built on trust. Coach Hayden gave me his trust so I gave him mine.”
“Coach Hayden was a fun and energetic person to be around no matter who was the person, or what your circumstance was with him he always was a spirit you wanted to be around,” said junior Bryce Butler.
“Life is precious and short,” Coach Brydon wrote. “We do not know the hour of our own passing, or Jesus’ returning. As one of our senior football players after receiving the news: ‘Coach, we need tell each other we love each other every day for the rest of the season."