Notre Dame has nominated defensive lineman Daelin Hayes for the 2020 Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award because of his leadership on racial injustice and inequality. He serves as part of the football program’s unity council, which took the initiative to help register the entire team to vote in November. He has also served as a voice for those efforts and a commitment to health and safety, joining programs like NBC’s The Today Show to speak on behalf of the team.
Daelin organized a rally in honor of Juneteenth on the Notre Dame campus. Most of the team had returned to campus by June 19, but they were the only students on campus and had not yet started on-campus workouts as they were awaiting the first round of COVID test results. While many had participated in protests or marches at home following the death of George Floyd, the players had not yet had the opportunity to make their voices heard together. Daelin led the charge in organizing the event in roughly 72 hours. In addition to his speech, prayers were offered by University president Rev. John Jenkins and teammate Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, while teammate Max Siegel II and head coach Brian Kelly also spoke. That was followed by a unity march through campus.
Prior to his recent work, Daelin has been actively involved in the Robinson Community Learning Center, an educational initiative jointly operated by the University of Notre Dame and the Northeast Neighborhood residents of South Bend. Between classes at the Center and outreach to community schools, the Center reaches over 8,000 children in the Greater South Bend area annually. Daelin taught a twice-weekly class last fall at the Center, working with 4th & 5th graders on how to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.
Daelin is also a leader at team community service events, including Shop With A Player (team members take children from local schools and the Pokagon Band shopping for Christmas presents), Football & The Force charity softball game between Notre Dame football and local law enforcement officers, Saint Mary’s College Dance Marathon to benefit Riley Hospital for Children, and Roof Sit to prevent child abuse in St. Joseph County.
Other volunteer efforts include Food Bank of Northern Indiana (weekly in 2018), South Bend Center for the Homeless (weekly 2018-19), Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County (weekly in 2018), Facilitator at Notre Dame Summer Bridge Program (2019) helping new freshman student-athletes begin at college, Kindness to Prevent Blindness helping underprivileged youth get eye exams and glasses, Ambassador for Irish Strong mental health initiative for student-athletes, a representative for Fighting Irish Fight for Life program which sees teams adopt children fighting a rare disease, volunteer to read weekly at Studebaker Elementary School (first graders) and mentor at the South Bend Juvenile Detention Center.
Freddie Solomon played his college football at the University of Tampa (Florida) and went on to play for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons before joining the San Francisco 49ers where he helped win two Super Bowl championships. His career in the National Football League as a wide receiver came to a close after 11 years. Then the Sumter, SC, native known as “Fabulous Freddie”, came back to Hillsborough County (Tampa) to make a more lasting impact. Solomon devoted the next 12 years of his life to the youths of Tampa Bay, working with the Sheriff’s department to teach kids life lessons through football. His efforts impacted more than two decades of youths and his lessons are still carried on in the community. The Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award continues Solomon’s efforts to help make the world a better place by annually honoring a collegiate football player who has impacted the lives of others through giving and community service.
Information provided by Claire Kramer
Notre Dame Athletics