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Joe Hay was Orange County's coach of the year in 2009 for his work at Garden Grove High.

Former Garden Grove coach Hay dead at 41

OCVARSITY.COM

Joe Hay, who was Garden Grove's varsity football head coach for one memorable season,  passed away Friday morning, his wife Nicole Hay said Saturday. Hay was 41.

Nicole said she found Joe not breathing Friday morning. She said Joe wore a sleep mask to deal with apnea difficulties, but had not worn the mask when he went to bed Thursday night. Joe had no ongoing health issues, she said.

Hay coached Garden Grove to the CIF-Southern Section Southern Division championship game in 2009. The Argonauts endured the loss of teammate Kevin Telles, who passed away shortly after collapsing during the final minutes of the season opener.  Garden Grove went 13-1 that season, with its only loss to La Mirada in the Southern Division championship game.

Hay resigned after the '09 season to undergo shoulder replacement surgery and devote time to rehabilitate the injury. Nicole said Joe had recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Santa Ana College for the 2012 season, which would have marked his return to coaching.

Joe Hay remained at Garden Grove as a physical education and health teacher. Assistant coach Willy Puga was promoted to replace Hay before the 2010 season, during which the Argonauts returned to the CIF-SS Southern Division championship game to defeat Beckman.

The Hays have no children. Joe Hay's parents, John and Carol Hay, reside in Garden Grove.

Services are pending.

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