CU Buffs' JR Payne fills vacancy on coaching staff

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Jun. 3—For the first time in five years, Colorado's JR Payne had to fill a hole on her assistant coaching staff.

On Thursday, Payne filled that hole.

Former Southeastern University head coach Tim Hays was hired as the newest assistant for the CU women's basketball program.

"We are extremely excited to hire Tim as our newest assistant coach," Payne said in a press release. "He comes to CU with an incredible amount of success both on the recruiting trail and on the court. Tim has a proven track record of player development and has won at every level of the game. He embodies everything that is great about coaching in that he is highly driven and competitive, but also values relationships and the development of the whole student-athlete above all else. I know that Tim will have a huge impact on our student-athletes and their future success."

Last month, former CU assistant Shandrika Lee left the program to embark on a career outside of coaching. Lee had been with Payne for the past eight years, including two seasons at Santa Clara and the last six at CU.

The only other time Payne has had to replace an assistant at CU was after her first year, 2016-17, when Jeff Cammon took the head coaching job at Long Beach State.

Hays resigned earlier this week from SEU, where he was the winningest coach in program history. In six seasons with the Fire, he went 176-13, including 106-0 in the Sun Conference. He led the Fire to five conference tournament titles.

In 2019, Hays led the Fire to the NAIA Division II championship game. This past season, SEU went 33-2, losing in the NAIA Division II semifinals.

Hays coached nine All-Americans at SEU.

Before going to SEU, Hays was the head coach at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood for eight seasons (2008-16), going 143-100. He is the program's all-time winningest coach. Twice, he led CCU to the NCAA Division II tournament and the Cougars were the National Christian College Athletic Association national champs in 2012.

Hays also spent three years coaching professionally in Australia (2005-08) with the Launceston Tornadoes. Prior to that, he spent a year as an assistant coach at Montana State.

Hays was almost a member of Payne's original staff at CU after she was hired on March 28, 2016. Hays was hired as head coach at SEU on March 23 of that year and eight days later, there was a report that he had resigned from SEU to come to CU as an assistant. Hays, who was still living in Colorado at the time, ultimately decided to honor his commitment to SEU.

During his playing days, Hays played at La Grande (Ore.) High School and led the state in scoring. He played two seasons at Boise State before transferring to Northwest Nazarene.

Hays' wife, Crista, is a CU medical school alumnus.