The Woody Hayes Timeline

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 02/14/2013 7:14 AM

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100 Years of Woody: The Timeline
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Had he lived, Woody Hayes would have been 100 years old today.

Ornery as ever, Hayes would likely still be trying to pay forward instead of spending his time trying to get back at those who may have wronged him. Even a former assistant coach like Bo Schembechler who committed the cardinal sin by crossing the border to become the head football coach at Michigan.

Face of Woody Hayes on the newly installed statue of him at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Woody Hayes

Hayes was the face of Ohio State football for 28 years. He was boisterous, he was cantankerous and he was controversial. He was also a winner, and one of the most beloved figures this school, as rich in history and tradition as any in the country, will ever know.

In many ways, Woody Hayes was Ohio State football. He came after Paul Brown, who brought the Buckeyes their first national championship, but Hayes built one of the true powerhouse programs in college football.  

He might not like a lot of what the sport has become today, then again, the sport might not survive a lot of what Hayes got away with in his own day. He died more than 25 years ago, but Ohio State erected a statue to honor the winningest coach in school history on Wednesday.

We do the same today, on his 100th birthday, with a look back at 100 Years of Woody.

Feb. 14, 1913 –  Wayne Woodrow Hayes is born in Clifton, Ohio (between Dayton and Springfield) to Effie and Wayne Benton Hayes, a teacher and superintendent in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Woody also had an older sister named Mary and a brother, Isaac who also played football.

1931 – Hayes plays center at Newcomerstown High School and later was a tackle for Denison University, where he was also a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

1935 – Hayes graduates from Denison University with a degree in English and is almost immediately hired as an assistant coach at Mingo Junction, a high school near Steubenville on the Ohio-West Virginia border.

1937 – Hayes is hired as an assistant coach at New Philadelphia High School, which is south of Canton. He was named head coach the following season and went 17-2-1 in his first two years before suffering a 1-9 season in 1940.

July 1941 – Hayes enlists in the United State Navy at 28 years old. He eventually rises to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during World War II. He commanded the USS PC-1251 in the Palau Islands invasion in 1944 and the destroyer-escort USS Rinehart in 1945 before it was decommissioned.

1942 – Hayes proposes to his girlfriend Anne Gross over the phone (he was already in the Navy). The two would be married that year and they would have one child named Stephen Benton Hayes.

1946 – Hayes was not even back on American soil when he is offered the head coaching job at his alma mater, Denison University. He accepted the position but won only two games the first year after Denison had suspended the program during the war.

1948 – Hayes completes his master’s degree in Educational Administration at Ohio State.

1949 – Hayes won the season finale during the 1946 season against Wittenberg University and it jump starts a 19-game winning streak for Denison. He is hired as the head coach at Miami University in Oxford when Sid Gillman left to coach archrival Cincinnati.

1951 – Hayes is hired by Ohio State University after leading Miami to an appearance in the 1951 Salad Bowl against Arizona State. The Redskins (Now Redhawks) won the game 34-21 and Hayes quickly accepts an offer to replace Wes Fesler at Ohio State. His coaching position comes with a full professor’s status and a starting salary of $12,500.

January 1954 – Hayes wins his first national championship at OSU in his fourth year. He was just 16-9-2 in his first three seasons at Ohio State, but the ’54 season changed all that. He had finished no better than third in the Big Ten heading into that season, but the ’54 team – led by Howard “Hopalong” Cassady – was a perfect 10-0 with a 21-7 win over Michigan and a 20-7 win over USC in the Rose Bowl.

January 1957 – Hayes wins his second national championship, but is only recognized by the National Football Foundation. The Buckeyes dropped the season opener, 18-14, against TCU and then rattled off nine-straight wins. They beat Michigan, 31-14, in Ann Arbor and topped Oregon, 10-7, in the Rose Bowl.

January 1961 –  Hayes wins his third national championship, though again not consensus. The Buckeyes tied TCU, 7-7, in the season-opener and finish the year 8-0-1. They ransacked rival Michigan 50-20 in Ann Arbor and Ohio State was named national champions by the Football Writers. The AP national title went to Bear Bryant and his 11-0 Alabama squad, which beat No. 9 Arkansas 10-3 in the Sugar Bowl.

Woody Hayes, circa 1964
Photo courtesy OSU Archives
Woody Hayes

November 1963 – Hayes wins his fourth-straight against Michigan with a 14-10 victory in Ann Arbor. The game was delayed for a week by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

January 1968 – Hayes wins his fourth national championship – second consensus – with arguably his most talented team. Led by Rex Kern and the “Super Sophs,” Ohio State rattles off 10-straight victories, including a 13-0 win over No. 1 Purdue and a 50-14 win over No. 4 Michigan. The Buckeyes defeated No. 2 USC 27-16 in the Rose Bowl to capture the AP title.

November 1969 – The No. 1 Buckeyes are stunned by Michigan in Ann Arbor, ending the team's 22-game winning streak and beginning the “10-Year War” with former assistant Bo Schembechler.

January 1970 – Hayes wins his fifth national championship, but this time only by the National Football Foundation. The Buckeyes went 9-0 during the regular season with a 20-9 win over Michigan but lost, 27-17, to Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Nebraska (11-0-1) took home the AP national title with a 17-12 win over No. 5 LSU in the Orange Bowl.

November 1971 – Hayes is so outraged over a missed pass interference call against Michigan, he stormed onto the field in a profanity-laced tirade. He screamed at referee Jerry Markbreit and ripped up sideline markers. He would eventually resort to destroying yard markers and tossing first-down markers into the crowd at Michigan Stadium. OSU lost the game 10-7 and Hayes was suspended for one game and fined $1,000.

1972 – Hayes signs a talented young running back out of Eastmoor High School by the name of Archie Griffin. The Columbus native would go on to become Ohio State’s all-time leading rusher (to this day) and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football.

January 1973 – Prior to the ’73 Rose Bowl against USC – a game OSU won 42-21, Hayes shoves a camera into the face of a newspaper photographer. He was later suspended for three games and fined $2,000.

November 1977 –  Hayes charges at ABC cameraman Mike Freedman after a late fumble against Michigan cost him his second-straight loss to “that school up north.” He was ejected from the game, fined another $2,000 and put on probation by the Big Ten Conference.

1978 – Hayes is elected into Ohio State’s Varsity “O” Athletics Hall of Fame during his 28th year as head football coach. He was a two-time National Coach of the Year and his teams posted a remarkable record of 205-61-10.

Dec. 29, 1978 – Hayes’ explosive temper ultimately ends his career at Ohio State. After a late interception by quarterback Art Schlichter costs OSU the Gator Bowl, Hayes takes a swing at Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman as he’s coming off the field with the ball. The punch caused a bench-clearing brawl and Hayes was ejected from the game.

Dec. 30, 1978 –  Ohio State President Harold Enarson and Athletic Director Hugh Hindman, who had played and coached under Hayes, offer Hayes a chance to resign. He refused and was subsequently fired the next morning.

1979 – After being replaced as head coach by former assistant Earle Bruce, Hayes accepts a position on the Navy ROTC faculty at Ohio State. He occupied a second-floor office in the ROTC building on Lane Ave.

1982 – The portion of West Woodruff Avenue running past Ohio Stadium is renamed “Woody Hayes Drive.”

Oct. 29, 1983 – Hayes is inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. That fall Woody Hayes would return to Ohio Stadium to dot the “i” in Script Ohio before a game against Wisconsin.

March 14, 1986 – Hayes delivers a famous commencement address at Ohio State, more than seven years after being fired as the school’s football coach. During the address he quotes the phrase – which he learned from Ralph Waldo Emerson - “You can pay back only seldom, but you can always pay forward.”

March 12, 1987 – Hayes dies in bed at his Upper Arlington home of an apparent heart attack. He had been in poor health for a number of years. He was 74 years old.

March 17, 1987 – Former U.S. President Richard Nixon delivers the eulogy at Hayes’ funeral before a crowd of 1,400. The following day, more than 15,000 people took part in a memorial service for the legendary coach at Ohio Stadium.

November 1987 – Ohio State’s new indoor athletics training facility is named the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in honor of the school’s all-time winningest coach. 

April 23, 2004 – A historical marker honoring Woody Hayes is installed outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center by then-OSU head coach Jim Tressel, a representative of the Ohio Bicentennial society.

Statue of Woody Hayes at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center
Photo by Jim Davidson

Sept. 10, 2005 – Hayes has his name retired at Ohio Stadium during halftime of the OSU-Texas game. Hayes marker, which is similar to the retired numbers in the South end of the stadium, is along the southeast part of the stadium in what is known as the “Ring of Honor.”

Feb. 13, 2013 – An eight-foot statue of Hayes is erected in front of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Ohio State’s on-campus football complex named after the historic head coach.


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