Summary

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Lieutenant Commander 2
Birth:
14 Feb 1913 1
Death:
12 Mar 1987 1
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Personal Details

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Person:
Wayne Hayes 1
Gender: Male 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-3417 1
Birth:
14 Feb 1913 1
Death:
12 Mar 1987 1
Cause: Unknown 1
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World War II 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Lieutenant Commander 2
Service Start Date:
09 Jul 1941 2
Enlistment Date:
09 Jul 1941 1
Organization:
Navy 1
Organization Code:
NAVY 1
Release Date:
23 Aug 1946 1

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Stories

Sports Illustrated

  After I heard the news that Woody Hayes had died, my thoughts returned to an autumn afternoon in 1970, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, when my team, Northwestern University, was leading Ohio State 10-3 just before the half. I was a cornerback and was standing only a few yards from Hayes. He looked at me, and I could feel his loathing—for me, my teammates and everything else that stood in the way of his Buckeyes. The winner of this game would likely go to the Rose Bowl, a place Hayes's team seemed to visit every other year but to which Northwestern hadn't been since 1948.

Hayes was at the peak of his fame back then; the NU coaches referred to him as the Fatman, partly out of hatred, largely out of envy. He had won national championships in '54 and '68 and was well on his way to becoming the fifth-winningest college coach ever. He was already a legend for chewing out his players, snarling at the press, smashing projectors and cheap watches and ripping up pre-torn baseball caps. And he already had issued his famous edict: "Three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad."

I personally had proved him right that afternoon, having intercepted two of quarterback Rex Kern's passes. For the half Ohio State would pass 10 times, completing only three, with three interceptions. Hayes was almost out of his mind with rage. And yet his passing attack was so primitive, so readable that there was little we defenders could do but catch the ball or bat it down.

As I looked at Hayes just before the gun sounded, it struck me that perhaps he had planned it this way. Like a child, he had guaranteed the failure of a system he hated. "See, Mom, I told you it wouldn't work!" In the second half Ohio State threw just two passes. The offense came out in a tight T formation—the gridiron equivalent of the bulldozer—and plowed us into the ground.

"The most deceptive course in football is straight at the goalposts," Hayes had stated. "When the Germans went through the Argonne, it wasn't an 18 sweep, it was a 10 trap." Undefeated OSU 10-trapped us into submission that day, then went to the Rose Bowl and lost to an over-achieving Stanford team which relied heavily on that despised thing, the forward pass.

To me the point was clear: You can always crush a weakling; it takes guile and innovation to defeat an equal.Hayes built his record by beating up on the Little Eight in the Big Ten, saving his greatest fury for those season-ending tractor pulls against Michigan. His style of power football, conceived in simpler times, may have set the Big Ten back a decade in relation to other conferences. In the Rose Bowl alone the PAC-10 has defeated the Big Ten16 of the last 18 years. Hayes's final rage at the vagaries of the forward pass occurred in the last moments of the 1978 Gator Bowl when he slugged Clemson noseguard Charlie Bauman, who had just intercepted a last-gasp OSU pass. Chicago Tribune columnist—and OSU grad—Bernie Lincicome has written of Hayes that that was "the night, truly, that his life ended."

The essential conflict of Hayes's life was neatly encapsulated in the run-pass dilemma. The one form of attack personified the earth, primal struggle, atavism, simplicity, things that could be controlled; the other embodied air, lightness, modernity, freedom and risk. Hayes was of the earth, an old-fashioned toiler. "I despise gimmicks!" he often roared. A 250-pound fullback was not a gimmick. A pass was.

I do not think Woody Hayes was a great football coach. He won a lot, but what does that mean? And yet, having said that, I think it is likely he was a great football man. He had many virtues. He was honest. He affected people. He believed in scholarship. He had no pretenses. He and his wife, Anne, lived for 36 years in the same house, with few possessions. In classes he taught at Ohio State he told his students how Socrates would walk happily through the marketplace saying, "Look at the things I don't need."

Like all great men he gave us a target. He was unashamed to do what he felt was right. When Hayes eventually got around to calling Charlie Bauman on the telephone, he did so not to apologize but to find out what defense Clemson was in when Bauman made the interception. The top brass at Ohio State understood the hubris-ridden, unique man for what he was. Six months after firing him as coach, for the Bauman incident, the board of trustees voted him professor emeritus, and Hayes kept his small teacher's office at OSU until the end.

It has been reported that Hayes died in his sleep, quietly and at peace. I hope that is true. And I hope that somewhere the coach is smiling; it's first and goal at the one, and the big fullback has the ball.

 

 

Gator Bowl

BOOTED

Woody Hayes' 28-year career at Ohio State came to a sudden end last week when he went berserk toward the end of the Gator Bowl game in Jacksonville. With Clemson leading 17-15 and 1:59 remaining, Ohio State had a third down and five to go on the Clemson 24. But that's as far as the Buckeyes got. Clemson Middle Guard Charlie Bauman intercepted an Art Schlichter pass. When Bauman was tackled near the Ohio State bench, Hayes went wild. He grabbed Bauman and punched him. When one of his own players, Ken Fritz, attempted to intervene,Hayes turned on him. There was a mob scene of milling players and coaches. Finally Hayes was wrestled away by his defensive coach, George Hill. Ohio State drew a 15-yard penalty for Hayes' unsportsmanlike conduct. ThenOhio State was penalized another 15 yards when the still-raging Hayes ran onto the field and had to be led away by an assistant.

Ohio State Athletic Director Hugh Hindman, who had played for Hayes at Miami University in 1949 and served as one of his assistants at Ohio State for seven years, confronted Hayes privately in the locker room. Hindman toldHayes he was going to inform the Ohio State president, who was in the stands, of the particulars of the affray, and that Hayes "could expect the worst possible result." There was a bitter exchange between the two men, and then, Hindman says, Hayes "asked if he had the opportunity to resign, and I told him he did. Shortly thereafter he said, 'I'm not going to resign. That would make it too easy for you. You had better go ahead and fire me.' "

With that, Hindman drove off to see Ohio State President Harold L. Enarson at the country club in Ponte Vedrawhere he was staying. They met shortly after two in the morning, and Hindman told Enarson, who had no clear idea of what had happened on the field, about Hayes. They agreed to fire him. "There isn't a university or an athletic conference in the country which would permit a coach to physically assault a college athlete," Enarson says. At 8 a.m. Hindman told Hayes he was through as coach. After returning to ColumbusHayes cleared out his office of his few personal possessions, including his books on Emerson, great generals and wars, loaded them into his Bronco and went home to seclusion.

It is surprising that Hayes was not canned years ago. In addition to numerous publicized outbursts of temper and violence, Hayes often flew into ungovernable rages in practice and struck his players. There was talk last year thatOhio State wanted to fire Hayes after he punched an ABC cameraman in the stomach, but it was just talk; the only punishment meted out to Hayes was a year's "probation" by the Big Ten.

One of the problems with big-time college football is the reverence in which coaches are held. They are called Coach Jones and Coach Smith and Coach Hayes, investing them with almost priestly eminence and inviolability. It goes to the head, and Hayes isn't the only coach who regards himself as omnipotent and beyond criticism, and football as something separate from the university. One of the most telling insights into the relationship between football and higher education came last week from OSU President Enarson, who, when asked if the Hayes case were embarrassing to the university, remarked, "I take comfort with the keen awareness that football and the great reputation of this university tend to be totally separate."

Then there is the matter of ABC's coverage of the incident. Announcers Keith Jackson and Ara Parseghianprofessed to be confused about what was going on down on the field, even though the camera clearly showedHayes punching Bauman. Were Jackson and Parseghian—or should it be Coach Parseghian?—attempting to draw a discreet shade over a member of the clan who had gone out of control? Or are they simply inept? Was Producer Bob Goodrich fearful of hurting the "image" of college football, which ABC televises during the season? Or is Goodrich simply inept? Whatever the reason, ABC booted the story the night Coach Hayes booted his career at Ohio State.

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