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Hall of Fame Spotlight - Daniel Hay (2003)


Daniel Hay first came to Georgia in 1967 from Campbeltown, Scotland and immediately got involved in soccer.  He assisted Gus Renson and his brother, Peter Hay, in organizing an amateur soccer league, was selected for the league’s all-star team and was playing with the semi-professional Atlanta Metros against international teams from Germany, Italy, Ireland and Mexico by 1971.

Although Hay was an excellent player for many years, his greater impact was as a motivator, developer and coach.  He arrived in Decatur, Georgia, on June 15, 1967 and that same week, Walter Gray asked Hay to assist him in training teams within the Soccer Youth League of Georgia, one of the three very first youth soccer groups organized in Georgia.

By 1970, Hay began coaching young teams within the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA program.  His 12U Westchester Wildcat team represented Georgia in the very first Southeastern Regional competition held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In the mid-1970s he began coaching in the American Soccer Association.  In 1977, his 14U Celtic team not only won two state championships but also represented the state in the Southeast Region competition.  In 1980, his 16U Celtics won the state championship and represented Georgia in the Southeast Championship competition in Mississippi and won Georgia’s very first gold medal.  This win for Georgia stood for 22 years and put Hay's 16U Celtics in the eight team final for the North American Championship in Canada, where the Celtic team came in third, a remarkable achievement for a Georgia team in those early days.

In 1981, Danny moved up to coach the 19U age group.  His Hurricanes won the Athens tournament over the defending national champion from St. Louis, Missouri; this Georgia win still stands today.  The following year, Hay's team, now part of the Datagraphic Soccer Club, became Southeast Regional champion, winning Georgia’s second gold medal.  The Hurricanes went on to the national finals where they placed third in the nation.  This was the first time Georgia placed in the nationals and this placement still stands today.

In 1983, Hay coached his 19U Datagraphic team to the Georgia State championship, then went on to win a gold medal in the Junior Olympic Tournament.  That was the same year that he coached both teams that competed in the 19U State Final in Georgia.  In that unusual event, both of his teams met in the championship game, with Hay coaching the 19U Datagraphics and his Assistant Coach Jackie Colville, heading Hay's Datagraphic ’67 team.  

In 1986, Danny coached his last 19U Datagraphic team to the Georgia State championship, and again led them in the Southeast Regional competition.

After an outstanding career in Georgia from 1967 to 1986 as a player and coach, Hay retired from active participation, leaving an outstanding legacy of accomplishments.  Many of his players have gone on to excel as players, coaches, motivators, organizers and leaders in their own right.  In 2003, was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.