ESPN Network: | | | | ABCSports | EXPN | INSIDER | FANTASY   

Hayes known for titles, temper

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Hayes swings away
By Alex Fineman
Special to

Signature Game
Dec. 29, 1978 - Woody Hayes made the worst mistake of his legendary career: The 65-year-old Ohio State coach slugged an opposing player.

Losing by two points with a little more than two minutes left in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Ohio State was driving, and had moved the ball into field-goal range at Clemson's 24-yard line. But then noseguard Charlie Bauman intercepted freshman quarterback Art Schlichter's short pass over the middle on the 18.

Bauman was knocked out of bounds on the Buckeyes' sideline. An irate Hayes went over and threw a punch at Bauman before he was restrained by several of his players.

The morning after the 17-15 defeat, Hayes was fired. He never coached again. He also never apologized to Bauman for hitting him.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Hayes' hometown, Newcomerstown, Ohio, was also the home of Baseball Hall of Famer Cy Young.

  • Through Hayes' efforts in the early 1950s, the Big Ten began permitting the first forms of athletic scholarships in the conference's history.

  • After the 1955 Rose Bowl, Hayes feuded with the Tournament of Roses Association for not covering the field before the game and permitting the bands to perform on the field during halftime.

  • Hayes often visited players in the hospital, and while he was there, dropped in to chat with other patients.

  • The team always was Hayes' first priority. Once President Nixon called him after a Buckeye win, and Hayes put him on hold until he was finished with his postgame speech to his players.

  • In 1972, freshmen were cleared to play for the first time. A freshman running back named Archie Griffin rushed for 239 yards in his second collegiate game, a then-Ohio State record.

  • By the time Griffin graduated, he was the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner as well as the NCAA career rushing yardage record-holder. The Buckeyes reached the Rose Bowl in all four years Griffin was there.

  • In 1975, Hayes faced Joe Paterno for the first time. The Penn State coach greeted him with, "Woody, you look great." Hayes responded by saying, "Well, what did you think I would look like?" and walked away steaming mad, thinking Paterno meant to play mind games.

  • Two of Hayes' players won the Heisman: Hopalong Cassady in 1955 and Griffin in 1974 and 1975.

  • He also coached three Outland Trophy winners (Jim Parker, Jim Stillwagon and John Hicks) and two Lombardi Award winners (Stillwagon and Hicks).

  • Hayes had a 5-6 record in bowl games at Ohio State: 4-4 in the Rose Bowl, 1-0 in the Orange Bowl and 0-1 in the Sugar and Gator bowls.

  • Future head coaches Lou Holtz, Joe Bugel and Earle Bruce were assistants under Hayes at Ohio State.

  • Bauman wasn't the first person Hayes swung at on the football field. At the 1973 Rose Bowl, he hit a Los Angeles Times photographer and at the 1977 Michigan game, he punched an ABC cameraman.

  • Before the last game of the season, Hayes participated in the "Senior Tackle," a tradition in which each departing senior takes a run at the tackling dummy. After Hayes left, the school moved the event to the stadium, where 30,000 people attended.

  • Hayes received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Ohio State in 1986.

  • In 1987, Ohio State dedicated the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, a facility containing a 400 x 220 indoor field and an 8,000 square foot weight room.

  • Each year, the University & Northwest Sertoma Club of Columbus, Ohio, honors six scholar athletes -- a male and female from each of the NCAA divisions. The award is named the Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award.

  • A cabin Hayes used as a retreat in southeastern Ohio is now available for rent to visitors. Profits from the rent go to the Anne Hayes Scholarship Fund for Academic Excellence in the School of Social Work at Ohio State.

  • At times, Hayes refused pay raises because he believed they would interfere with winning; as a result, some of his assistants were paid more than he was. In 1978, his last season, Hayes' salary was $43,000.

    Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories