OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s summertime in Oklahoma and that means sports camps are in full swing and for decades basketball camp meant former Oklahoma Christian University coach Dan Hays was on the court.

That’s why he is nominated for our Pay it Forward award by coach Mark Makeever. 

“Well, I have known Coach Hays since 1986,1987, worked his camps and the influence he has on thousands of kids and hundreds of coaches just amazes me,” says Makeever.

“You guys want to be on television?” ask Kent Ogle as he crosses the floor of the gym. “We have a little program at Channel 4. It’s called Pay it Forward and it’s when we recognize someone who has gone above and beyond for their community, their friends and their family and that type of thing. The winner is right in here this week and his name is coach Dan Hays.”

“It’s rigged!” says Coach Hays.

“Well coach, being up here for the past year I always knew about the influence that you had. But going around with you and seeing certain things and all the people you have influenced, the thousands of campers for four or five decades,” says Mark. “The hundreds of coaches that use you as a reference every time that look for a job that you’ve helped. There is a phrase that I looked up; you know how I am with quotes. ‘Make sure your servant’s towel is larger than your ego,’ and that fits for you more than anybody I know. So that’s why a nominated you.”

“I love basketball, Solid Rock is a great place, great vision and when I retired, I helped some people around at UCO and then Oklahoma Christian again,” says Dan. “But I just help them out around here. It’s a great place and love the kids and hopefully I can give back things I’ve gotten.” 

“What do you get out of working with these kids?” asks Kent. 

“A lot of headaches and no hair,” jokes Dan. “No, especially this group. It’s our largest shooting camp. We’ve got a hundred kids and they have been great.”

After almost half a century with a coach’s whistle, Dan could fill a stadium with NBA’ers, college stars and even elementary school bench warmers whose lives he has touched because he treats them all the same.   

“Kids come up all the time that are adults now and tell him how much they enjoy his camps,  the overall influence he has and besides that, he is still doing that at 75. He’s still involved, he still has all the energy of all the coaches that come here, so he’s just amazed me,” says Mark. 

Coach Dan Hays, paying it forward by giving every kid a shot in a career that has been nothing but net.

Pay It Forward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.