We will miss Yucaipa High School teacher, coach, and close friend, Kent Hayden, who passed away on Jan. 13.

He was truly an institution throughout his remarkably long career in Yucaipa: 1958-1991. “Coach Hayden” was one of the most respected coaches in the history of YHS: varsity football line coach, under head coach Howard Newman, in the 1960s, and boys varsity basketball coach for over 20 years.

But it was in the classroom where Kent touched the lives of so many more students. Let’s do the math: 32 school years, teaching approximately 125 students per year, would mean he taught about 4,000 YHS students of U.S. history and government during his career. Having also taught at Yucaipa High School, I cannot recall the number of times how many of Kent’s ex-students told me he was the most influential teacher they’d ever had: stimulating lectures and assignments, challenging discussions, a wonderful sense of humor, and phone calls making sure they were alright when absent. And classroom discipline: “Pay attention! Or you’re going to get detention!”

We miss you Kent. And we always will.

David Strack



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