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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 an enterprise sports writer, I transitioned in the Summer of 2020 to primarily focus on the Breonna Taylor movement and the protesters themselves. I spent several days each week at protest events and writing in-depth pieces on the demonstrations. My coverage, which appeared on the cover of USA Today, included 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.