“Coach Hayford has proven to be the right leader for our program as he propelled the team forward in his first year, leading us to the most successful season in recent history,” said Fink. “We are excited to announce the extension of his contract and look forward to the continued development of the program under his guidance.”
In his first season at the helm of the program, Hayford revitalized the Redhawks on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
The 2017-18 Redhawks finished 20-14 overall, 16-3 on their home court and 8-6 in Western Athletic Conference play. The win total marked a program high since returning to Division I in 2008-09, and marked the first 20-win DI season since 1963-64 when Seattle U finished 22-6. The 16 home victories was also a modern-day DI record, while the eight WAC wins was the most since joining the league in 2012-13. The fourth-place finish ties the best finish during the Redhawks six years competing in the WAC.
The season culminated in the program's third national postseason tournament appearance in the past four seasons — a berth in the Collegiate Basketball Invitational (CBI).
"I believe in the vision that the Seattle University leadership has for our men's basketball program,” Hayford said. “And I am grateful for their belief in the leadership of my staff and I as we continue to pursue the lofty goals we share for Seattle U basketball.”
Hayford’s up-tempo style of play saw the Redhawks set numerous modern-day DI program records including total points (2,589), field goals (881), field goal percentage (44.6), three-point field goals (312), free-throw percentage (73.8), rebounds (1,298) and blocks (123).
The team would finish ranked in the top three in the WAC in scoring (2nd, 76. 1 ppg), free-throw percentage (3rd, 73.8), field goal percentage (3rd, 44.6), field goal percentage defense (3rd, 40.7), three-point field goal percentage (2nd, 37.0), rebounding offense (3rd, 8.2 rpg), blocks (3rd, 123), three pointers (1st, 312).
Menzies would set an all-time program record with 79 blocks and a modern-day DI record with 302 rebounds. The 7-3 center improved all faucets of his game, finishing with 14 double-doubles while shooting nearly 61 percent from the field (up from 53 percent in 2016-17), nearly 65 percent from the free-throw line (up from 61 percent in 2016-17) and averaging 8.9 rebounds per game (up from 6.1 in 2016-17).
Five Redhawks averaged double figures on the season, including Kavas at 15.2 ppg, Hill at 13.7 ppg, Menzies at 11.3 ppg, Josh Hearlihy at 11.2 ppg and Richaud Gittens at 10.8 ppg, while Morgan Means was not far behind at 8.6 ppg. The squad went 7-1 in games where five players scored in double figures, and 7-0 in games scoring 90 points or more.
The Redhawks achieved a team cumulative GPA of 3.012 for the 2017-18 academic year, earning them a Team Academic Excellence Award by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Five players concluded the year with a 3.2 cumulative GPA or higher while four Redhawks – Mattia Da Campo, Morgan Means, Matej Kavas and Jake Spurgeon – were also named to the 2017-18 Winter All-Western Athletic Conference Academic Team.
The squad also spent ample time engaging in the local community, including multiple volunteer activities at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School.
The 2018-19 Redhawks will see the return of four key players in junior Morgan Means, redshirt junior Matej Kavas, junior Mattia Da Campo and sophomore Aaron Nettles. In addition, a quartet of transfers who spent the 2017-18 season redshirting at Seattle U will immediately infuse the Seattle U line-up. Myles Carter, a 6-9 forward from Seton Hall, and Delante Jones, a 6-5 guard from American, will both be redshirt juniors in 2018-19, while Dashawn McDowell, a 6-5 guard from SMU, and Matt Owies, a 6-0 guard from Hawaii, will each be redshirt sophomores. The Redhawks have also added eight new players, including seven freshmen and one junior transfer.