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Donald Hayes finishes the job

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Donald Hayes finishes the job

Donald Hayes finishes the job

Donald Hayes will graduate from the University of Wisconsin Saturday fulfilling a journey that went more than two decades.

Jay Wilson reports.


Donald Hayes finishes the job

10 in bloomington.

Saturday at camp randall stadium, j.j.

Watt will give the commencement address at u.w.


But another former badger football player will be walking across the stage to get his college degree-- the first one in his family to do that... former madison east high school star donald hayes will complete a long journey..

A journey that ends with a college diploma..

((( , " jay wilson:donald hayes was one of the best high school athletes in madison history..

At madison east he was first team all-state in both football and basketball..

He caught 106 passes in his four years with the badger football program and was a four-year letter winner.

He also played five seasons in the n.f.l., and caught two touchdown passes from tom brady in his one year with the new england patriots.

But this week, donald hayes will get perhaps an even greater career accomplishment..

At age 43, a decade removed from his football career-he'll get his degree in afro-american studies at the university of wisconsin saturday.

Hayes remembers vividly at madison east when the light came on that academics is an important compliment to athletics..

Donald hayes: it was milton mcpike - he pulled me to the side one day which- he probably did it to all the other kids but for whatever reason, it felt like he saw something in me that i didn't see at myself at that time.

Jay wilson hayes was close to getting his degree while he was playing football at wisconsin, but there are plenty of athletes who go pro and don't come back to get their degree.

But it's been very important to him to accomplish it.

Donald hayes: it's harder than it was when i was a freshman because now i've got a family- i've been out in the real world working - now i'm coming back and it took me a while to get my mind right back around it that hey- i'm actually in school - let's buckle down and get this taken care of.

Jay wilson: so it's basically a 20- plus year journey from when he stepped onto the uw campus to getting his diploma saturday at camp randall- the very place where he had some of his greatest athletic moments... alan zussman: i'm real proud of him and he deserves to be proud of himself.

He doesn't complain- and everything i can do to make it better for him-- it's easy to do that when you've got a guy that you know is commited to it.

Donald hayes.

Because i've been to see my other friends walk off the stage and i was really excited for them and i was like, one day, i'm going to be doing that and now that time is upon me - like soon, so- i might be emotional, they say you might cry, i was like -- nah, i don't think i will, i don't think i will but i actually might.

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