Erica Hayes Zinn
Birthdate: August 16, 1977
Birthplace: Chillicothe, Ohio
High School: Vinton County (Ohio) High School (1995)
College: Shawnee State University (1995-1999)
Year Inducted: 2023
A star player on one of the best women’s teams in memory, Erica Hayes Zinn clearly is a worthy addition to the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
A versatile 6-0 center, Zinn – then known as Erica Hayes – was unstoppable at Vinton County High School in southern Ohio, twice earning All-Ohio honors. During her time there, she set a school mark by scoring 38 points in a game, later broken by her sister Heather. She was the all-time leading scorer until the 2020-21 season, and was the all-time leading rebounder until her record was broken during the 2021-22 season — by her daughter Cameron. Her reputation grew quickly, and so did her local popularity as she chose to play collegiately at Shawnee State University.
The result was unforgettable as Hayes broke 11 school records and left the program as its best-ever player. In her four seasons with the Bears, she amassed 2,178 points and 1,193 rebounds for respective career averages of 17.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg. During the latter half of the 1990s, Hayes continued to elevate her game and the outlook for her team.
It all reached a pinnacle during the 1998-99 season when Hayes was named a first-team All-American and the NAIA National Player of the year while Shawnee State captured the NAIA Division II national championship. In that epic 31-2 season, the Bears won the American Mideast regular-season championship, were upset in the league postseason tournament title game by Urbana, then took down all five opponents in the NAIA Tournament to claim that national championship. That ’99 team was enshrined in the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
The Bears were blessed with great synergy and depth, but Hayes was the clear headliner. As a senior, she averaged 24.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest while shooting 67.7 percent from the field. Her impact was felt on the defensive end as well as she used her quickness and tenacity to hound foes and log 2.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. She set single-season school marks for points (814) and rebounds (343).
Hayes Zinn was inducted into the Vinton County High School Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Shawnee State University Athletics HOF in 2005.