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Prineville's Diane Hayes was honored as Women's High School Track Coach of the Year in 1978

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - Diane Hayes, top left, poses for a photo with her first state cross country championship team in 1972.

Diane Kopta came to teach at Crook County High School in 1963. She had just graduated from Portland State University.

Women's sports programs at CCHS were limited mostly to intramural sports. She taught physical education and became coach of most women's sports. Her vision and determination soon resulted in the establishment of the first women's track program at the school. She also was the first women's basketball coach.

In 1965, she married Bennie Hayes, a fellow teacher at CCHS.

In the next several years, she developed the track program into one of the premier programs in the state.

In 1972, she established the first women's cross country team. The team won the state championship that fall. The track team also won the state championship the following spring. Hayes was chosen as the state class AA Coach of the Year.

She continued to teach PE and was versatile as the coach for almost all women's sports until 1974. Although she continued to coach some other sports after that, her main emphasis was on track and cross country.

The track team won additional titles in 1976 and 1979, and the cross country team won additional titles from 1973 to 1976 and in 1978. The Cowgirl track and cross country teams dominated the sport at the AA level in the 1970s.

Hayes was awarded the prestigious Women's National High School Track Coach of the Year in 1978. She received her award in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In March 1979, she was honored with a "Toast and Roast" at the Crook County Fairgrounds new multi-purpose building. More than 125 fans, former players, coaches, teachers, students and community leaders were on hand for "Diane Hayes Day."

Hayes retired from teaching in 1991, and she and Bennie have remained in the community. She is a living legend in CCHS and state track and cross country coaching history.

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