Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics William “Bill” Hayes received one of two Winston-Salem Open Lash Southern Awards on Sunday, Aug. 18 as part of opening weekend festivities for the Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament. Tom Peatross, a longtime local tennis advocate, received the other honor.
The Lash Southern Awards are presented annually in honor of David Lash and Mildred Southern, two sports and tennis pioneers from Winston-Salem who devoted much of their professional and personal lives to tennis and those who enjoy playing it.
Hayes is a pioneer and trendsetter in the world of athletics and far beyond. In the early ’70s, he integrated the coaching ranks of the ACC as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University.
Hayes has worked in a number of athletic departments, including ones at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and Florida A&M. When he finally hung up his coaching whistle after 27 seasons on the sidelines, he was the coach with the most wins in the history of North Carolina.
Since his return to Winston-Salem State University as AD, his influence has helped to guide the Rams to 14 CIAA championships, and the football team to a National Championship game appearance in 2012.
Hayes, who has been inducted into four halls of fame, is married to the former Carolyn Pratt of Durham; they have a son, William Jr., and a daughter, Sherri Walker.
Peatross has volunteered for virtually every tennis tournament that has been held in Winston-Salem in recent decades. His involvement with tournament tennis began in 1970, when he volunteered for the NC Tar Heel Qualifier. In 1971, Tom took over as chairman of the Tar Heel Qualifier and has continued for the last 38 years.
From 1979 to 1981 and again from 1985 to 1987, Peatross was chairman of the USTA Boys twelve Clay Court National Championships in Winston-Salem. Many future stars played the event, including Mal Washington, Patrick McEnroe and the Williams sisters.
Peatross and his wife Sue were awarded the Senior Tennis Council Award in 1994. He was awarded the 2002 NCTA President’s Award and the 2003 USTA League Volunteer Service Award.