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I’m Hayes.

Hayes Gardner
That’s me.

I was raised in Kentucky, graduated from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 2015 with a degree in History, and then served as an AmeriCorps member for two years in Oregon while simultaneously working as a freelance sports writer. I next moved back to Iowa for a job with the Ames Tribune in 2018 and then with the Louisville Courier Journal in 2019.

Originally hired as a sports writer, I learned to play out of position in the summer of 2020, as I transitioned to an enterprise role and primarily focused on the Breonna Taylor protests. I spent several days each week at protest events and writing pieces of substance on the racial justice protest movement. My coverage, which has appeared on the cover of USA Today, includes written portraitsa historical look, and the motivations behind the demonstrations. I also co-wrote an in-depth series which analyzed the roots, and potential solutions, to systemic racism in Louisville.

That series was recognized, alongside my colleagues’ impressive work, as a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist in the category of Public Service.

During my time in Iowa, I was named GateHouse Media’s 2018 Sports Writer of the Year (Class B). I’ve written in-depth profiles, like this one, on a recruit with unique ties to Iowa State. Or, a basketball player’s bond with her grandfather. Then there’s Jack Taylor, who scored 138 points in one NCAA game, and is now on a mission to alter the attitude of his hometown. I profiled him for The Athletic.

I’ve analyzed the impact of men’s college basketball’s extended 3-point line, and, wrote on the historic and breathless debut of an NWSL team in Louisville the first top-tier pro sports team in Kentucky in 45 years.

In college, I investigated and revealed that a resigned professor had left his post because the school discovered he had plagiarized his dissertation and other academic works.

When I’m not writing, I like to participate. I play pick-up basketball a few times a week, enjoy being outside, and love to explore the country. I’ve been to 41 states in the United States; I’m still looking for the remaining nine.

You can follow my work on Twitter, Instagram or email me at hayesgardner1@gmail.com. Don’t be afraid to reach out. I’m a big fan of saying hello.