The Life And Legacy Of Wayne Woodrow Hayes

March 9, 2012
“I wanted that undefeated season more than anything I ever wanted in my life, I’d give anything, my house, my bank account, anything but my wife and family to get it.” Woody Hayes once said after his only loss of the season in 1974 against Michigan State University. That alone should tell a person how dedicated he was to coaching football.
On February 14 1913 Wayne Woodrow Hayes was born to Wayne and Effie Hayes in Newcomerstown Ohio. While Woody was born and raised in Newcomerstown he also became attached to the game of football. Hayes played the center position in Jr. High and high school and was team captain in his senior year. After he graduated from high school Hayes went to Denison University located in Granville Ohio where he played college ball. Hayes graduated from Denison in 1935 with a B.A. in English and History.
After Woody graduated from Denison he became an assistant coach at Mingo Junction High School. After two seasons at Mingo Junction Hayes moved to New Philadelphia Ohio Where he became an assistant coach at New Philadelphia High School and met his sweetheart Anne who would later become his wife. After just one year as an assistant coach at New Philadelphia Hayes was promoted to head coach. Three years later in 1941 Hayes enlisted in the United States Navy Seals. In 1942 during Woody’s term in the Navy he proposed to Anne over the Phone “when I started dating Woody, we dated for six years, but we never kept steady company. In fact, we were never engaged. Woody proposed over the phone on day in 1942. After he was in the Navy he had some leave time due. I accepted, he came home and we were married.” said Anne after she and Woody were married. In 1945 after Hayes left the Navy he became the head coach of Denison University where he had two successful seasons in 1947 and1948. At the age of thirty six Hayes accepted the head coaching job at Miami University in Miami Ohio. Woody’s first year at Miami went decently with a record of 5-4, but in only his second year Hayes led the redskins to 9-1 record and an eight game winning streak. This season was also special because coached and won his first bowl game. The Redskins beat Arizona State University 34-21 in the Salad bowl. While at Miami Hayes also coached his future friend and rival, Bo Schembechler. Bo played for Hayes at Miami, later he became an assistant under Hayes at Ohio State University, then he went on to coach at the university of Miami and finally he settled down at the University of Michigan where he coached against Hayes.
“I’m not coming here looking for security; I came here for the opportunity.” Hayes said in 1951 as he accepted the head coaching job at The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio. Ohio State would be Woody’s last coaching job as he stayed there for twenty seven years. Coming into Ohio State Woody ran a T-formation offence and finished his first year at Ohio State with a 4-3-2 record but in his second season at Ohio State the Buckeyes went 6-3 and beat their rival Michigan for the first time in eight seasons. The next year Woody’s quarterback got injured and was out for the season. Hayes was forced to adapt to a running game or what he called “three yards and a cloud of dust”. In his third season with the Buckeyes Hayes finished with a 6-3 record. After this season Hayes was a permanent runner. He even began not to trust the pass at all. Hayes once said “There are three things that can happen when you pass and two of them are bad.”
In 1954 Hayes coach the Buckeyes to their second national championship against The University of Southern California Trojans and the Buckeyes won 20 to 7. Hayes coached two other national champion ship teams in his 27 years at Ohio State in 1957 and1968. In 1955 Woody Hayes coached his first of two Heisman Trophy winners, Howard “Hop along” Cassidy who played the running back position. Woody’s second Heisman winner didn’t come for nineteen years. Archie Griffin won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. Griffin is the only college football player to ever win the Heisman Trophy more than once. Griffin, like Cassidy played the running back position. In 1974 Hayes suffered a heart attack but recovered in time to coach the team.
In 1978 Ohio State played the Clemson Tigers in the Gator bowl in Jacksonville Florida. This would be the last game that Hayes would ever coach. At the end of the game Ohio State was losing 17 to 15 and Woody and the Buckeyes had one last chance to stick the ball in the end zone when Charlie Bauman, the Clemson picked the ball off and made his first and final interception. Bauman ran out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline to seal the Buckeyes loss when Woody’s temper got the best of him. Hayes grabbed Bauman by the face mask and punched him square in the face. The Buckeyes lost the game and Hayes was fired the next morning.
Woody was inducted to the college football hall of fame on December sixth 1983. On March twelfth 1987 ten years after he was fired Wayne Woodrow Hayes died from a heart attack. He never did apologize for punching Bauman. Woody was buried in Union Cemetery in Columbus Ohio where his headstone reads “And in the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love hears the rustle of a wing”.

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