Trent Hayward

Trent Hayward started teaching tennis at the age of nine by coaching the Columbus (Ohio) Special Olympic Tennis Team alongside his father, and he continued coaching the team for the next seven seasons. (To read about Trent’s role with Special Olympics, please see the additional section at the bottom of this page.) Trent is a certified professional member of the U.S.P.T.A. (United States Professional Tennis Association) and has instructed tennis to students with differing ability levels in many venues throughout his life including country clubs, resorts, city clubs, high school teams, and after-school elementary programs.

As a player, Trent competed extensively in tournaments as a ‘junior’ (ages 18 & under) competitor. He consistently established himself as one of the best tennis players in Ohio and all of the Midwest Section. (The U.S.T.A.’s Midwest Section is comprised of all players representing Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, most of Wisconsin and parts of West Virginia.) As a junior competitor, he won the Ohio Valley District, reached the finals of the Midwest Sectional Championship, and was endorsed to compete in the National Championships.

During his playing career as a junior, Trent studied the strategy and mental approaches that world class competitors utilize. Trent attended a multi-day program at Dr. Jim Loehr’s* Human Performance Institute which specialized in developing the mental aspect of competition. During this time, he was able to study the world-class mental tactics that countless tennis champions employ during their on-court battles. (Trent was recognized for his on-court application of these skills throughout his playing career – as was proven when he was selected as the recipient for I.M.G./Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy’s 2003-2004 ‘Mental Conditioning’ Award.)

As a youth, he practiced tennis relentlessly up until the summer preceding his 9th grade year when he stepped away from the court to attend Outward Bound’s three-week wilderness course in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. During this time, he developed a love of nature and the serenity that only the mountain wilderness can provide. After completing Outward Bound’s course at the youngest permissible age (14), Trent was eager to get back on the tennis court and further develop his tennis game.

Trent started his high school tennis career by playing the #1 singles spot for the Thomas Worthington “Cardinals” as a freshman. By his sophomore year, he went onto compete (in singles) in the Division 1 Ohio High School State Tennis Championships. After establishing himself as one of the best high school players in Ohio by age 15, Trent faced a decision in regards to his future capacity as a player. The summer following his tenth grade year, he moved to Florida to train at the world famous I.M.G. Bollettieri Tennis Academy. (Bollettieri’s Academy has developed countless world champions, and the academy’s alumni includes stars such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Jim Courier, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Boris Becker, Tommy Haas, Anna Kournikova and Kei Nishikori.)

Bollettieri’s Academy allowed Trent to advance his game in ways that his hometown competition had not provided. He began playing tennis for five or more hours nearly every day, and supplemented his on-court practice with off-court programs to help him further his mental toughness and physical fitness. He trained daily alongside future collegiate and professional stars including 2014 U.S. Open Finalist Kei Nishikori. Hitting against some of the best young players in the world allowed him to gain a perspective of what it took to become a world-class player, and Trent was committed to proving himself on the international stage. He began competing in junior competitive circuit I.T.F. (International Tennis Federation) tournaments, and earned a coveted (ages 18 & under) world ranking while he was still 16.

During his senior year of high school, Trent was actively recruited by a number of Division 1 universities which offered him athletic scholarships. Due to his longing to reside in the mountains, he ultimately accepted an athletic scholarship with Northern Arizona University.

In 2005, during his first year with the Northern Arizona University “Lumberjacks”, Trent racked up an impressive athletic resume. As a freshman, Trent had N.C.A.A. wins (in both “duel” and tournament venues) over many Division 1 universities including Arizona State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana State, Sacramento State, South Dakota State, Weber State, Air Force, Gonzaga and many more. (To those of you familiar with Arizona college tennis, the “Sun Devils” discontinued their Men’s Varsity Tennis Program in 2008…at the time leaving The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University as the only two N.C.A.A. Division 1 Men’s Varsity Tennis programs in the state.) As a “Lumberjack”, Trent earned a spot on the Big Sky All-Conference roster, was awarded the Big Sky’s Conference “Athlete of the Week” designation, and was voted the Teams’ Most Valuable Player – all as a freshman. (The Big-Sky Conference is an N.C.A.A. Division 1 College Conference composed of multiple universities spanning seven states.)

During the spring of his sophomore year in college, Trent decided to step away from the Northern Arizona University’s Men’s Varsity Tennis Team to heal a persistent injury and focus on academics. At the time, he planned to eventually return to college tennis, and during the summer following his sophomore year he received athletic scholarship offers from multiple Division 1 universities. He was also asked to consider rejoining N.A.U.’s team, but ultimately decided to continue his focus on academics while enjoying Flagstaff and the surrounding region.

Trent graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology. He loves Flagstaff and the northern Arizona region, and is thrilled to call this area his home. He enjoys hiking and mountain biking all over the NAZ region, and can often be found on the ‘out & back’ trails that compose Coconino National Forest. He also enjoys playing chess and studying the disruptive technologies which are rapidly constructing the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’.

Special Olympics

Starting at the age of nine, Trent began coaching the Columbus (Ohio) Special Trent Hayward - Special Olympics Coach - Tennis Pro Sedona ArizonaOlympics Tennis Team, nicknamed ‘The Columbus Comets’. Trent coached the team for the next seven seasons, up until the summer of 2003 when he left to attend Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy in Florida. During his years with the Columbus Comets, he was in charge of the coaching duties outside of administrative responsibilities—which were handled by his father who did not play the sport.

While these years helped Trent build a foundational understanding of how to coach tennis, the lessons Trent took away from Special Olympics transcended far beyond the sport. Working alongside the athletes helped Trent acquire invaluable life lessons, such as the importance of compassion and leadership. This time in his life allowed him to develop character traits that will forever influence me as both a person and coach.

Trent Hayward Sedona Tennis Pro Altitudes Tennis Sedona

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing this letter of recommendation for Trenton, who volunteered with the Columbus Schools Special Olympics program. Trenton offered his time and talent in our tennis program, assisting the athletes who were training and competing during the years 1997-2004.

During the time of Trenton’s involvement he not only shared his time and talent, he shared his compassion, dedication and sense of helping in a sport that he knew so much about. He learned about differences and ultimately about what makes us all the same. Soon, he was at practice helping the athletes learn about the game of tennis. Even though some of the athletes were older than Trenton, he served as such a positive role model. He never spoke above the athletes, but instead as a “teammate” who was offering his assistance. Trenton also participated as a unified partner, which pairs athletes with and without intellectual disabilities in competition together. He served as the head coach and was very respected by everyone.

As I always witness growth with every athlete in the program, I also witnessed growth in Trenton. Personal growth ins so important with young people. What they learn and experience at a young age will last a lifetime. I truly believe being involved in our Special Olympics program changed Trenton as far as his opinion of what athletes in Special Olympics are capable of when given the opportunity to participate. The athletes really enjoyed having Trenton at pro-active and watching them at competition. As a sense of pride, Trenton could know that what the athletes were accomplishing, he was a part of it.

I strongly recommend Trenton’s consideration into your program. His strength are his commitment and dedication. He is also a strong leader who will go above and beyond what is asked of him. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Sherrie Andrus
Special Olympics Coordinator
Columbus City Schools

Trent Hayward - Tennis Pro Sedona Arizona