Former UGA player Jonas Hayes gets top job at Georgia State

Former UGA player Jonas Hayes finally got his big break as he was named as Georgia State's new head coach. Hayes was a former UGA assistant, and candidate for the top job with the Bulldogs last month
Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

Jonas Hayes, who interviewed for the UGA basketball job before it was filled, has been hired by Georgia State as its head coach.

Hayes became a hot prospect as a head coaching candidate after leading Xavier to this year’s NIT championship as the interim head coach.

Hayes, 40, was a strong candidate at Georgia for its opening, and interviewed with Bulldogs athletics director Josh Brooks and school president Jere Moorehead the day before then-Florida coach Mike White was hired for the position.

A handful of prominent former UGA basketball players had publicly lobbied for Hayes to get the top job with the Bulldogs, even though Hayes had no previous head coaching experience. Hayes is a former UGA player who spent six seasons as an assistant with the Bulldogs from 2013 to 2018. He was an assistant at Xavier for the past four years.

Perhaps most importantly, Hayes also has deep recruiting connections to Atlanta after growing up and starring in high school basketball in the metro area.

UGA’s new coach, White, reached out to Hayes to see if he had any interest in being an assistant (again) with the Bulldogs. However, Hayes seemed destined to finally be a head coach after he orchestrated Xavier’s magical run in the postseason.

Georgia State will be the first head coaching job for Hayes, and his famous twin brother Jarvis Hayes will also be on his staff as an assistant coach. Jarvis was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft out of UGA.

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