Neil Hayes is the author of the critically acclaimed book When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football’s Longest Winning Streak and the coauthor of The Last Putt: Two Teams, One Dream, and A Freshman Named Tiger. His most recent project, Chasing Perfection: Leadership Principles From the Most Successful Football Program in History (Triumph Books), will be on shelves later this summer.
Hayes was part of the creative team that developed his book into a major-motion picture starring Jim Cavizel, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern and Alexander Ludwig that was released in August, 2014. Hayes worked on set as a producer and consultant while the movie was being filmed in New Orleans in the spring and summer of 2013.
When the Game Stands Tall inspired the 2004 ESPN documentary 151: The Greatest Streak. The hour-long, prime-time ESPN production, was written by Hayes, who also did all the off-camera interviews and appeared in the documentary. The documentary was produced by John Madden’s Goalline Productions and narrated by legendary football broadcaster Pat Summerall.
Hayes, forty-seven, has been a sportswriter in Arizona, the San Francisco Bay Area and, most recently, with the Chicago Sun-Times. He was named one of the nation’s top-ten sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) in 2005. He has won numerous awards for enterprise reporting, project reporting, feature writing, and game-story writing during his twenty-five year writing career.
He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including ESPN’s SportsCenter and Between the Lines, The CBS Evening News and The Today Show.
Hayes lives in surburban Chicago with his wife, Charlee, and two children, Nick and Riley.