Benjamin Franklin High School wrestling’s Hayes Rollins named Arizona Sports Coach of the Month
Jan 31, 2024, 7:30 AM | Updated: Feb 1, 2024, 10:27 am
(Photo provided by Hayes Rollins)
Hayes Rollins, the wrestling coach at Benjamin Franklin High School in Queen Creek, has been named the inaugural Arizona Sports Coach of the Month.
Rollins earned the coach of the month honor by going above and beyond. After practice, he sends out a text message to each wrestler telling them what their strengths for the day were.
“Because it’s such a personal and individual sport, it’s nice to be able to get that kind of feedback on a personal level,” Rollins said. “I think a lot of times kids need that individual encouragement to know that they actually are doing good or that they need to be working harder or that they have been focusing in the right place and learning the right technique and using the right mindset and stuff that we’re working on.”
At the end of the week, he also sends out a review sheet that requires the wrestler to reflect on weaknesses and strengths — but it also asks how coaches can improve to make the team better.
“Kids can kind of tell us what they learn and remember from practice, but also give their input … just so that we keep them as engaged as possible,” he said.
Rollins gives 100% attention to his coaching duties by staying after practice for any wrestler who wants to put in extra time. Sometimes, kids will stay after to work on techniques. Or kids will want to stick around just to get some extra live matches in or wrestle with the coaches.
But other times, Rollins sticks around to talk to kids about life while encouraging them.
“Trying to find the best way for each kid to wrestle and have their best life,” Rollins said. “Because every kid is different. Every day is about learning something new or getting better at something they are already good at in hopes that one day they will reach their fullest potential and become the greatest version of themselves. In wrestling, in life and in whatever else their passions are, we just want to support our kids.”
So how did Rollins advance in the coaching ranks?
Rollins began coaching wrestling eight years ago after returning home from a mission trip. At the time, he was attempting to get back into the sport to wrestle collegiately. However, he got connected to Grindhouse Wrestling Club in Glendale and started working with the seventh and eighth grades and high school kids. While attempting to get back into shape, he got hooked on coaching.
He ultimately decided not to register for college and spent the next six years coaching at Grindhouse. He is now in his second season coaching at Benjamin Franklin High School.
“It’s pretty incredible (being named the Arizona Sports Coach of the Month),” Rollins said. “A lot of times being a coach can be really hard on you personally. You spend so much time and a lot of times you feel like things aren’t going noticed. But I think it kind of brought a whole new morale for me for the remainder of the season to know and understand that these parents do see the work that you are putting in and that the kids do appreciate it. And the parents understand how much you do care about their kids and are trying to help them.”
Rollins is an Arizona native who gained exposure to wrestling via attending practice with his father, who coached at Thunderbird High School.
While Rollins was a student at Gilbert Middle School, his first wrestling practice started with him trying out for the basketball team.
“I was a very short and small middle schooler,” Rollins said. “When I talked with the (basketball) coach, they asked me if I ever played basketball before and I told them ‘no’ so they asked me if I could dribble or pass or score and I answered ‘no’ to those as well. Then, the coach asked me what I could offer the team and I told him I was fast and had endless energy. And he told me he had a great spot for me and walked me down to the wrestling room and said I’d fit in there.
“I tried to sneak in and sit on the wall and the (wrestling) coach yelled at me from the middle of the room that we don’t have any wall sitters and that I was either on the mat or out of the room. So I ran to the mat and he congratulated me for making the team.”
Rollins said the biggest reason why he coaches is wanting to build relationships with his kids, with other coaches and with parents. He calls his dad his biggest influence in coaching.
“We spent hours and days and years learning and wrestling and becoming best friends through wrestling,” Rollins said about his father.
In addition to coaching, he is a father of two boys, Cannon Scott, who is 2 and a half, and Brooks Daniel, who is 3 months old.
He also works at Fusion Power Solar Company in Chandler and is a student at Arizona State University studying health sciences online. He has been taking anywhere from 18-23 credit hours per semester.
Rollins believes becoming a physical therapist will help his wrestlers when battling an injury.
“I think it’ll allow me to be able to work more inside what I’m already doing,” Rollins said.
Rollins, who is part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also said his faith is a huge part of his life. He is currently serving in the bishopric in the ward that he’s at in San Tan Valley and also attends Sunday church meetings and Tuesday night activities.
Rollins said balancing everything is very challenging but being present helps him juggle all of his activities and responsibilities.
“What I try to do the most is try to stay in the moment depending on where I’m at, because everything that you do, you do have to kind of be thinking and playing into the future of everything else,” Rollins said. “When I’m with my family, I’m trying to do a better job with putting my phone down and sticking with my wife and being present for my kids. And when I’m at wrestling, I’m definitely fully involved with what’s going on.
“When I’m at church, I try to be there with those members of my faith and do my best to be able to serve them. And when I’m doing school, it’s all school, and that’s all I focus on. So really just trying to be able to give 100% attention and what I’m doing at that time.”