Former Garden Grove High School and prospective Santa Ana College football coach Joe Hay died in his sleep Friday, Jan. 27, a college official confirmed.
Mr. Hay had recently accepted the position of defensive line coach for the Dons, and was in the process of completing his paperwork when he passed away from complications related to sleep apnea.
In 2009, Mr. Hay coached Garden Grove to a 13-1 record en route to the CIF-SS Southern Division final. That year, he took a leave of absence from coaching. This year marked his return to the sidelines.
“We were talking over the last few weeks and he was excited,” Santa Ana College Head Coach Geoff Jones said. “He really wanted to get back into coaching.”
The news stunned the SAC coaching staff, who were looking forward to his contributions on and off the field.
“I’m looking for guys who fit a mold, that are good people whom I’m going to spend a lot of time with,” Jones said. “My short list, like I told him, was him.”
A memorial service was held yesterday in Newport Beach. Mr. Hay is survived by his wife, Nicole.