Lee Hays begins his second stint with the University of Houston football program and will oversee the development of the offensive line.
The Del Rio, Texas, native served as the assistant offensive line coach for the Cougars in 2010 and enjoyed successful offensive coordinator stints at Tarleton (2011), Baylor (2006-07) and West Texas A&M (2003-05). At each of those stops his programs annually produced some of college football's top offensive outputs, running the highly-successful "Air Raid", which is currently run by the Cougars.
"This is an important hire for our staff and we are excited to welcome Lee back to our program," Head Coach Tony Levine said. "Lee is without question one of the top offensive line coaches in the game today and was instrumental in the development of our young offensive linemen in 2010. He also has a great background as an offensive coordinator, so he understands all phases of the offensive game plan, which is critical when mentoring your offensive line. And of course he has tremendous ties to the state of Texas. Lee is well respected by coaches in our state and the discipline his teams play with certainly lends itself to success on the football field."
It was that work with UH's young offensive linemen in 2010 that helped three first-year starters, Kevin Forsch (Honorable Mention All-C-USA), Ty Cloud and Rowdy Harper (Conference USA All-Freshman Team) make the transition to starters in 2011.
Widely respected for his work along the offensive line, Hays has coached five All-Americans, 25 First-Team All-Conference players, three conference offensive Linemen of the Year award winners, one Dave Rimington Award winner and two NFL Draft picks. His coaching tenure has also helped produce five conference championship teams and six NCAA Division II playoff entrants.
Hays' background includes a near-decade stint with the United States Marine Corps' 4th Reconnaissance Battalion (1987-96). He rose to the rank of staff sergeant and completed the Marine Corps' Sniper School. He served as a staff noncommissioned officer and as a recon marine during his military career.
"This is a great hire," former Houston All-C-USA offensive lineman Chris Thompson said. "Coach Hays really taught us a lot last year and is a great resource for everyone on the team. He is a man of great integrity and he has a strong relationship with our returning guys already, so this will be a smooth transition."
Before he entered the Marines Hays played defensive end and linebacker at Cisco (Texas) Junior College for two years, then spent one year at Abilene Christian. He then returned to football and earned his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1996 and his master's degree from West Texas A&M University in 2004.
From 2003-05, Hays was the architect of West Texas A&M's high-octane spread offenses utilizing the Air Raid attack. West Texas A&M enjoyed its most successful season in 55 years in 2005, largely due to the success of Hays' offensive creativity. The Buffaloes went 10-2 to record their first winning season since 1998 (the program had won a combined seven games in the previous four years) and post the school's first 10-win campaign since 1950. Along the way, WTAMU won the Lone Star Conference title with an 8-1 record, its first league championship since 1986, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history where it lost in the quarterfinals.
The 2005 Buffalo offense led the NCAA Division II ranks in passing offense at 363.8 yards per game, while ranking No. 7 in scoring offense (40.3 ppg) and No. 9 in total offense (477.3 ypg). His 2005 offense set school records for completion percentage (.669) and total yards per attempt (6.9 ypa).
He then spent two years at Baylor, with BU averaging 23.6 points per game, the team's best mark since 1996. The spread attack also allowed Baylor to break almost every school single-game and season passing record. The Bears were third in the Big 12 and No. 11 nationally in passing yards per game (275.0).
Hays most recently spent one season at Tarleton State, where the club averaged 32.1 points and nearly 400 yards of offense per game (391.9). Tarleton was one of the most improved teams in NCAA Division II this year, doubling its win total from 3-8 in 2010 to 6-5 in 2011. The offensive output was also a huge benefactor of Hays' experience. Tarleton averaged just 21.5 points per game the year before his arrival.
"I'm so excited to come back to the University of Houston," Hays said. "I have tremendous respect for Coach Levine and this entire program. Having a chance to be around this program in 2010 really gave me a deep appreciation for what Cougar Football is all about. I really appreciate this opportunity and my family and I can't wait to get back to Houston."
Hays and his wife, Roxanne, have a daughter, Shanlee, and a son, Cade