He graduated from San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, California. Hayes earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University, New Jersey, in 1971 and was awarded a Master's and Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1976.
Hayes played on football, basketball and baseball teams in high school, which prepared him for an athletic performance at Princeton. He played on the freshman football team and four years as a catcher for the Princeton Tigers baseball team.
Hayes' officiating career started with basketball, baseball, and football games in high school and community colleges. In 1983 he was elevated to the Pac-10 as a football official. This was followed with a 1995 appointment to the National Football League roster of officials and his designation as a side judge. During his career in the NFL, he has officiated in three Super Bowls: XXXVI in 2002, XXXVIII in 2004, and XLVI in 2012(where he made a call which might be consider one of the greatest calls in super bowl history). He also officiated at the 2006 Pro Bowl.
An NFL side judge monitors the contact between defensive players and receivers on his side of the field.
Currently, Hayes is the Men's Soccer Coach and Professor of Education and Athletics at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, a post he has held since 1976. He teaches First Aid/CPR, surfing, bowling, soccer, and weight training.
Hayes is Director of the Quarterback and Receiver Camp (QBR) in its 46th year of non-contact, football fundamentals training for youth players, grades 6 through 12. QBR schedules six summer camps held in California, New Jersey, Arkansas, Indiana and Georgia.
For the 2011 NFL season, Hayes is a side judge on the officiating crew headed by referee Carl Cheffers. The other crew members are Undrey Wash (umpire), Kent Payne (head linesman), Tom Symonette (line judge), Jimmy Buchanan (field judge), and Todd Prukop (back judge). During the 2007 NFL season, Hayes was the SJ on the officiating crew headed by referee John Parry and officiated the NFC Divisional Playoff game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.