By Carol Keochekian ’81
His place on the bench is empty – forever.
Dr. Melvin Hayashi, CLU athletics team physician for 17 years, mentor, educator and supportive friend, died March 11, 2012. He was 71.
“He was a fantastic surgeon who knew and understood the mind-set and psyche of an athlete,” said CLU Vice President for University Advancement Steve Wheatly ’77, who had more than one surgery performed by the talented orthopedist.
As the primary surgeon to CLU athletes, Doc (as he was known on campus) performed hundreds of operations and offered his expertise to student athletic trainers. He held free injury clinics and allowed them to observe surgeries.
“He gave so many volunteer hours with our students and with me and my staff,” recalled Head Athletic Trainer Kecia Davis, who brought the orthopedic surgeon to CLU in 1994. “He was such an amazing doctor, teacher and person.”
Diagnosed in 2010 with esophageal cancer, Hayashi stayed with CLU athletics through the year’s end, even joining the football team as they traveled to Linfield College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hayashi tended to athletes far beyond CLU, working with Conejo Valley high schools, Moorpark College, the U.S. National Soccer Team and at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. His talents earned him membership in the United States Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Society.
Hayashi’s Thousand Oaks office showcases his dedication to sports and athletes, with photos of his teams, award citations and trophies displayed on the examining room walls. Autographed photos of known sports figures dot the walls.
“Mel was a fixture on the sidelines at so many athletic venues throughout the community at CLU, Newbury Park, Westlake and Moorpark,” Wheatly said. “When you think about people who helped to build athletic programs in the community, he is the person you think about. It was tough looking on the sidelines this fall and not seeing Doc there.”