“His expectations on good morals and ethics never wavered,” Bartholomew said. “When he looked at you because you did something bad — not performance-wise on the field — you just knew you were wrong. His look was devastating. That’s the respect he commanded with everybody.”
Bartholomew remembers Hayden would start just about every conversation with a player by asking how things were going at home. Whenever a family member of one of Hayden’s players died, Bartholomew remembers the coach attending the funeral.
Pentucket athletic director Dan Thornton said he often stops by his own office at the school on Sunday mornings during the fall to pick up something he might need for the upcoming week. Without fail, Hayden is almost always in the athletic office with his coaching staff watching film and planning for the next week’s game.
“He’s as competitive as anybody out there,” Thornton said. “But he has the right perspective. I remember this past fall, we played a pretty big game against Amesbury with the playoffs on the line. Pentucket scored a touchdown with under a minute to go to take the lead. Amesbury got the kickoff, and made some phenomenal plays to take it down the field. They ended up winning on the last play of the game.
“I went to the locker room after the game, and I expected everyone to be dejected. Coach Hayden was talking to the kids about it being a positive learning experience. He told them they lost a game, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. That’s Steve. He’s always looking for you to be the best person you can be.”