Wayne W. Hayes

From Ohio History Central

Wayne Woodrow Hayes was born on February 14, 1913, in Clifton, Ohio. He was known as Woody Hayes. He graduated from Denison University in 1935. Upon graduating, Hayes coached high school football at Mingo Junction, Ohio, and at New Philadelphia, Ohio. With World War II's outbreak, Hayes joined the United States Navy.

Upon leaving the Navy in 1946, Hayes embarked upon a career coaching college football. His first head coach position was at Denison University. He had two undefeated seasons, but the university's administration demanded that the coach reduce the hard physical work required of the team's players. After four years at this institution, Hayes became the head coach of Miami University's (Ohio) football team.

Hayes coached at Miami University for two seasons and then became the head coach at The Ohio State University. Hayes remained the head coach at Ohio State from 1951 until 1978. During his tenure at this university, Hayes accumulated a record of 205 victories, sixty-eight losses, and ten ties. His teams won three national championships (1954, 1957, 1968) and thirteen Big Ten Conference championships. Because of this impressive coaching record, Hayes received National Coach of the Year honors on two separate occasions. He was one of the first college football coaches to recruit African-American players. Hayes also served as a professor in the Department of History, where he taught military history courses.

As a coach, Hayes emphasized a strong defense, however he is most remembered for his philosophy on offense. Because of Hayes's emphasis on running the ball, most people described his offense as "three yards and a cloud of dust." When asked why he opposed throwing the ball, Hayes once responded, "There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad."

Hayes also vehemently despised Ohio State's main rival -- the University of Michigan. During one game with Michigan, when the Buckeyes had a large lead, assistant coach Lou Holtz asked Hayes why the Buckeyes were going for two points after a touchdown instead of just kicking an extra point. Hayes responded, "Because they won't let me go for three!"

Hayes's career at The Ohio State University ended in 1978. This year the Buckeyes were playing Clemson University in the Gator Bowl. As the game was drawing to a conclusion, Hayes punched a player from Clemson after the player intercepted a pass, securing the victory for Clemson. Because of Hayes's action, Ohio State terminated him.

Hayes achieved a head-coaching record of 238 victories, seventy-two losses, and ten ties at Division I schools. He still ranks in the top-ten of the most victorious coaches at Division I schools. Hayes died on March 12, 1987.

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