By KG on 13:12:51 03/12/07
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Twenty years after his death, the state of Ohio remains on a first-name basis with one man: Woody. The mere mention of his name reverberates in the hearts and minds of millions. Wayne Woodrow Hayes passed away on March 12, 1987, but he lives on through those he touched and through the standard of excellence he set for the Ohio State football program. His players and colleagues recall lessons of loyalty, integrity and competitiveness that echo to this day.
Hayes wasn't the first influential OSU
football figure. Chic Harley helped get Ohio Stadium built. Paul Brown won the school's first national championship. Francis Schmidt started the gold pants tradition. Yet you can't say "Chic" or "Paul" or "Francis" in Ohio and expect instant recognition.
Woody has been gone for two decades, but his legacy has not faded. It probably never will. Here are some Woody remembrances:
" As a lawyer
, I deal with problems, and sometimes I think to myself, 'Oh, man, I don't know how to solve this.' And then I think to myself, 'You know what' Woody worked harder than anybody else. That's how he solved problems. That's how he got where he was.'
"He had a profound influence on my life in terms of work ethic, of being direct, of being honest ' my parents taught me to be honest, but he just reinforced all of that, and the value of being true to yourself, don't be a phony, don't talk about other people."
Dick Brubaker, co-captain in 1954, Hayes' first national-title team
" I have a high regard for him
. His integrity for the game of football was outstanding. He's not anyone who would ever cheat at the game of football. His integrity was greater than anything. If he said something, he would stand by it, and if there was a rule, he would abide by it. But he might get after an official or two. It doesn't mean he could accept the decision of an official if he thought the official was wrong. I can't say if most of the time he was right, but a lot of times he was right.
"Woody was Woody. When we were up at Michigan and we failed to get a pass interference call on their safety, as a football coach I admired what he did, throwing the sideline markers. It showed that, gee whiz, he didn't agree with that call."
Earle Bruce, an assistant under Hayes from 1966 to '72, then Hayes' successor as coach from 1979 to '87