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Woody's 'punch' still packs a wallop (Woody Hayes 25 years later)
Dayton Daily News ^ | December 31, 2003 | Eddie Pells

Posted on 01/03/2004 9:43:42 AM PST by anncoulteriscool

Woody's 'punch' still packs a wallop

It's been 25 years since haymaker KO'd OSU coach's career

By Eddie Pells

Associated Press

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For decade upon decade, football coaches have struggled to maintain a delicate balance. They teach a violent, emotional game, yet try to do so without letting the ferocity and passion compromise their image or taint their message.

Twenty-five years ago this week, Woody Hayes lost control in that struggle.

Even in today's era of reality TV and instant analysis and results, the images and consequences from the Ohio State coach's terrible moment in the 1978 Gator Bowl are startling.

One second, Clemson defensive tackle Charlie Bauman is making an interception, a play that ends on the Ohio State sideline.

Next, Hayes, a white-haired, 65-year-old man in the twilight of his career, comes seemingly from nowhere. He delivers a right-handed haymaker across Bauman's collarbone, stunning the lineman more than hurting him.

But there was damage done. It was a vicious moment that defined one man's total loss of self-control. The headline in the local newspaper the next day: "Friday Night Fights."

By the time the team landed back home, 17-15 losers to cap an otherwise forgettable season, the coach — who won two national championships, 205 games and eight trips to the Rose Bowl over 28 seasons with the Buckeyes — had lost his job.

Hayes was escorted by police from the airplane to a car on the tarmac, rushed home in privacy — decades of solid, albeit ham-handed, work tarnished by one ugly punch.

"It was sad, because he was a great man," former Ohio State linebacker Jim Stillwagon said. "A lot of people I talk to only remember him for that one thing. They never saw all the great things he did for people."

A quarter-century after the hit, and 16 years after Hayes' death, the wheel of history has come around a bit, especially in and around Ohio.

The coach who skulked out of Jacksonville in disgrace was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 1986. He gave a heartfelt speech that stressed the value of education, the worth of a diploma and the need for good acts in the community. It resonated with even his most harsh detractors.

Three years earlier, he was taken on the field to dot the "i" in the "Ohio" that the Buckeyes' marching band spells out during halftime in one of college football's great traditions. Tears flowed in the stands. Hayes called it one of the greatest honors of his life.

Hayes often acknowledged having flaws as a coach but never publicly explained why he slugged Bauman, who did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

In the flattering glow of retrospect, Hayes is still viewed by many as an icon, a tell-it-like-it-is taskmaster who worshipped George Patton, demanded discipline and wasn't afraid to threaten, cajole or intimidate to get it.

"In those days, if Coach said, 'We're meeting at 1, and jumping off the bridge,' people would be in line to jump off," Stillwagon said. "These days, some of the things he did, and he said, you'd have litigation."

And while many, especially in his old home turf, are willing to look at the single rash moment as an anomaly, the farther one strays from Ohio, the more that hit seems to define Hayes.

"I wish I could say I didn't think it did," said Gene Stallings, a Bear Bryant disciple who, as coach at Texas A&M, competed against Hayes in the 1960s and '70s. "He was a great historian. He won lots of games. He meant so much to Ohio State over 25 years. But it tainted him. Ask the majority of the people to tell you something about Woody Hayes, and that's what they're going to tell you."

Surely, Hayes — the consummate teacher and coach — would have wanted some lessons to be gleaned from his misfortune. But it's hard to tell exactly what was learned.

This is, after all, a sports culture that preaches zero tolerance and yet turns Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer's slapping a player on the sideline — and the player's foul-mouthed retort — into a lead highlight on TV. Beamer was never punished.

Bob Knight is caught on video grabbing a player by the neck in practice and eventually gets fired. But two years later, he's coaching again, swearing on television and acting every bit as outlandish as before.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin, who swore for eight years while stomping up and down the same sideline on which Hayes lost his job, remembers watching TV the night of Hayes' punch.

"It was very unfortunate," Coughlin said. "But you've got to remember the other things he did while he was the football coach. He was always teaching vocabulary, etiquette, manners. He had some rather crude way of explaining things, but he was always teaching."

Stillwagon sees the irony there.

Hayes, he says, was always teaching, always preaching and yes, always violent.

Back then, though, the linebacker recalled, it seemed like the message was more important than the method.

"I remember he said you never remain the same," Stillwagon said. "He said you either get better or get worse. You don't stay constant. He always had a lot of great advice like that. Sometimes, I wish he would have taken it for himself."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; US: Ohio
KEYWORDS: buckeyes; collegefootball; thegeneral; woodyhayes
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I was at the game in 1983 when Woody dotted the "i". That was the highlight of the season.
1 posted on 01/03/2004 9:43:43 AM PST by anncoulteriscool
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2 posted on 01/03/2004 9:44:04 AM PST by Support Free Republic (I'd rather be sleeping. Let's get this over with so I can go back to sleep!)
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To: anncoulteriscool
I remember walking on the OSU campus way back when I was a student,,,,and a very tall man walking by asked me if I was going to the 'footrace' that was scheduled to start shortly....I said yes,,,then looked closer,,,and realized it was Woody Hayes! I was surprised to see how tall he was ! (I thought he was short, since he always looked small on TV compared to the football players!). He then mentioned something about running was good excercise!
3 posted on 01/03/2004 10:11:01 AM PST by CharlotteVRWC
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To: anncoulteriscool
Woody Hayes was an old man when that outburst of temper happened, and the "blow" was, I believe, rather harmless. Yeah, true, it's not a good idea for a coach to lose his cool--it almost cost us the Alamo Bowl the other night--but it's human, and I suppose, in older people, somewhat (not completely, but somewhat) understandable. I grew up with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but from the time I was a little kid, Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bear Bryant of Alabama always represented the best in college football. Other than the once-annual Nebraska-Oklahoma shootout, I always liked best the Ohio State-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn games. But as for this particular incident, I have always thought Woody Hayes got punished far more than the crime was worth.
4 posted on 01/03/2004 10:15:15 AM PST by franksolich (a fronte praecipitum, a tergo lupus)
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To: anncoulteriscool
I'll never forget watching that as a kid.
5 posted on 01/03/2004 10:18:25 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: anncoulteriscool

I vaguely remember the incident back in 1978, I was still a kid at the time.

But I do remember Woody Hayes because he was the splitting image of one of my uncles from Alabama. My uncle looked just like him in this picture - except he never wore a tie in his life. Picture overalls instead.

6 posted on 01/03/2004 10:21:06 AM PST by SamAdams76
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To: franksolich
I am a Clemson fan. We should have just let the punched Clemson player beat the crap out of this weenie.

What dork this coach was.

7 posted on 01/03/2004 10:21:48 AM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: franksolich
I wonder why Bauman never pressed charges, I would have.

Wood boy should have been suspended for a season for that.

I would have been fine with 'street justice' in this case as well.

The fact is that justice was never done.

Our team is getting better(ask fla state and Ten) and if we meet again "Remember Bauman"

A coach must set an example, unless we want to condon massive gang wars after every game....
8 posted on 01/03/2004 10:32:54 AM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: franksolich
Well, ok, at least Ohio fired him. Still, the NCAA should have formally suspended him.

Honorary degree is a disgrace...
9 posted on 01/03/2004 10:37:05 AM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: fooman
Honorary degree is a disgrace...

Have you ever heard the speech he gave when he received this honorary? If you had, I think you might change your mind. It was an amazing speech - the best I've ever heard at a graduation. Not many know, but Woody in addition to being a coach, also taught history classes at OSU. In addition, he served our country in WWII as a PT boat commander. None of these facts excuse his actions, but there is more to the man than apparently you'll ever know.
10 posted on 01/03/2004 10:46:55 AM PST by tang-soo
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To: tang-soo
He may have done wonderful things, but he should still have a higher price for what he did.

He was encouraging gang warfare. He should have spent 30 days in jail like any other common criminal. He should have been humiliated.

I thank him for his service to his country.
11 posted on 01/03/2004 10:55:46 AM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: anncoulteriscool
It was a very hot afternoon of September of 1976. It was probably an ambient 90 degrees and at least 15 degrees hotter on the blacktop where 400+ were trying out for the OSU Marching Band. These many young people were competing for 224 spots - where every year several veterans are cut - ie no spot is safe.

A candidate's overall score consists of three marching grades - administered by 2 (total of 32) squad leaders and one musical audition performed before a member of the school of music. Each person was assigned a pre-scheduled time for their 15 minute audition - including 15 minutes for warmup. My audition was to be held along the banks of the Olentangy River - separated from the practice field by the 20 foot river bank. Atop this bank was a bike path - next to which I was sitting under the shade of a large tree - quietly warming up and practically ready to spit my teeth out I was so nervous. I was a freshman and had worked hard all summer to learn how to play a new instrument (OSU is all brass). A few minutes under the tree to calm down - right?

Well, sauntering down the bike path - coming directly towards me with his arms behind his back - like Patton inspecting his troops was Woody. He was proudly surveying his troops (Woody always he counted on the band's spirit for at least 3-6 points a game). Suddenly, he's about 50 feet away from me. He stops. He looks at me, he looks to his right - down at 400 sweaty maniacs busting their butt like he would expect his own players to be doing. He looks at me again, then down to the field again. By this time, I'm thinking about trying to climb the tree. Then he looks at me again, starts walking towards me, points the bony finger of indignation at me, then swings it towards the field as he says "you get your a$$ down there!!!!"

All I could do was to hide behind my alto horn and calmly point down the other side of the river bank towards my predecessor who was playing for his audition. He quickly, smiled his grandfatherly way and shot me with his finger/thumb pistol and said - "gotcha!" and proceeded down the bike path.

Despite that - I passed my audition, made the band and had a great five years in the OSUMB - where Woody and I shared three years. I sat in the front row of the band and every time Woody came to speak to us - he always smiled and pointed his finger at me again. he remembered and of course, so did I. I got to speak with Woody several times during the next few years and I was always struck about how he never wanted to talk about football - he wanted to talk about you, how school was going, staying out of trouble and about your family.

I was across the field during the Gator Bowl in 1978 and was greatly saddened by what had happened.

12 posted on 01/03/2004 11:29:17 AM PST by tang-soo
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To: anncoulteriscool
Both Presidents Ford and Nixon attended his funeral when he died. I had heard that the feared football player, Jack (They call me Assassin) Tatum did not want to attend the Ohio State University but his mother MADE him attend because she felt that Hayes was a good father figure and would keep Jack out of trouble. I heard another story where LB Tom Cousineau and some other football player were out drinking before the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans when Woody Hayes went into the bar and demanded from them if they were drinking liquor, they replied, "Yes" and Hayes smacked the glasses with his hand off of the bar like John Wayne. I heard another story where Hayes put his fist through the black board trying to make a point.

Hayes confronted the Ohio State University Athletic Director and told him that he "did not have the guts to fire him" (Hayes had evidentally hired the individual before he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director). To his credit, the Athletic Director did fire Hayes.

I once enterred a contest to ask Woody Hayes a question which was sponsored by the Cleveland Press in the late 60's. The winner's question was, "Do you consider the liberal philosophy prevalent on college campuses a threat to college athletics?" I know that if Woody Hayes was alive that he would be a Freeper.

I believe that it was a real tragedy that the Ohio State University did not put Woody Hayes out to pasture earlier and make him a scout and recruiter because he really shined in that capacity. Although Woody Hayes possessed some admirable qualities, he got too emotionally involved as a football coach. He once said to the greatest golfer who ever lived, Jack Nicklaus that he did not have the patience for the frustrating game of golf. Patience was not one of Woody Hayes's virtues. Woody Hayes was a student of history and greatly admired Gen. George Patton.

13 posted on 01/03/2004 12:41:10 PM PST by Mel Gibson (Let go of hate-people consumed by it often become exactly what they once hated.)
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To: fooman
"He was encouraging gang warfare."

That is the stupidest statement I've ever read! Hayes wasn't out there telling his players to beat the piss out of the other team with their fists. He was the only one who made a mental error and lost his cool. I suppose you've never made a rash judgement call eh? You sound like a soccer mom who should be attending a liberal rally. "Oooooooooooooohhhhhhh! Violence is harmful to living things." Life is hard Slappy, and when it hits you and knocks you down, you got to hit back or be trodden down all of your life. But as far as calling Woody Hayes a common criminal?! You are a moron not to realize that he came from an era where you grew up tough or you didn't make it.

14 posted on 01/03/2004 2:06:11 PM PST by Colt .45 (Cold War, Vietnam Era, Desert Storm Veteran - Pride in my Southern Ancestry!)
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To: anncoulteriscool
Thanks for posting this article...from an old buckeye!
15 posted on 01/03/2004 2:19:37 PM PST by BoozeHag
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To: Colt .45; fooman
Your right....fooman is a complete moron....and BTW didn't his Clemson buddy Danny Ford have a few problems? Yes I believe he did.....I'll take Woody or bottom feeders like Danny Ford and his type anytime.
16 posted on 01/03/2004 6:09:33 PM PST by anncoulteriscool
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To: anncoulteriscool
17 posted on 01/04/2004 10:08:53 AM PST by tang-soo
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To: Colt .45
Nah, not really. He is a paid professional and encouraging a melee on the field is completely against everything he supposedly taught. What a sore loser. Incidentally, I think Charlie Pell was the Clemson coach at that time.

Leadership by example, sorry.
18 posted on 01/04/2004 8:59:44 PM PST by fooman (Get real with Kim Jung Mentally Ill about proliferation)
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To: fooman
I wonder why Bauman never pressed charges, I would have.

Whaaaa. . .

Differences in the generations.
19 posted on 01/04/2004 9:07:00 PM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: CharlotteVRWC
(I thought he was short, since he always looked small on TV compared to the football players!).

Aw...he wasn't that tall. For us at OSU, he was just walking on air. LOL

20 posted on 01/04/2004 9:12:01 PM PST by Pure Country
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