Pat Hayden loved baseball.
He also loved Arbor View High School, the third school he helped open as a principal and the last he worked after 34 years as an educator.
Arbor View’s baseball team loved him back. The Aggies have played on a field named for the school’s first principal since 2010, a year before Hayden retired and more than three years before his death in October at 59.
Hayden, an avid swimmer, was found unconscious in the water during a triathlon at Lake Mead, one he planned to finish with his daughter-in-law and two sons.
Arbor View varsity baseball coach Jay Guest took the news hard.
Everyone associated with Aggies baseball knew Hayden, according to Guest, and no one could believe he was gone.
All attended a candlelight vigil the night after his death at Pat Hayden Field.
“I was shocked,” Guest said. “This is only my second year as a head coach, but I’ve known Pat for a long time. He was the guy who first hired me as an assistant (coach) before he retired.
“It was just a tragedy. He was such a great guy.”
Guest plans to hold a memorial for Hayden before the start of the Aggies’ upcoming season and hopes to see Hayden’s wife and sons in attendance to throw out the first pitch before Arbor View takes on Faith Lutheran in the team’s March 21 home opener.
If everyone who came to know and love Hayden shows up, longtime friend and fellow coach Robert Salazar expects it will be a packed house.
Hayden, a Southern Nevada High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, reached out to help a lot of kids in his years coaching tennis and baseball.
Salazar suspects that the former Western High School baseball coach’s real legacy lies with the hundreds of lives he touched outside a baseball dugout.
“(Hayden) was like a brother to me,” Salazar said. “He is one of those guys who is going to go down as an icon in Clark County because of the huge impact he had on so many people.
“The other day, Arbor View started an athletics Hall of Fame. One of the inductees was a professional baseball player. The other was Pat Hayden, so I think that gives you an idea of how important he was to the school and to the community.”
For more information on the upcoming remembrance at Pat Hayden Field, contact Guest at 702-799-6660.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at email@example.com or 702-477-3839.