Courtesy of OSU
For $1,000 a ticket, football coach Woody Hayes’ legacy at Ohio State will be revisited next month.
Hayes is credited with substantial contributions to OSU, and the university plans to honor his legacy with a “Woody and Anne Hayes Tribute Event” on Feb. 15.
The date would have marked his 100th birthday.
Hayes reigned over OSU’s football program for 28 seasons from 1951 to 1978, at least 13 more than any head coach since the program’s establishment. During that time, the Buckeyes amassed 205 wins, 61 losses and 10 ties, earning Hayes the winningest record in the 143-year history of OSU.
As head coach, Hayes was also known for facilitating 13 Big Ten championships, eight Rose Bowl appearances, five national championships and four undefeated seasons out of a sum of six for the entirety of the football program’s existence.
OSU spokeswoman Gayle Saunders said the university hopes the event will help people remember “the Woody years,” and help people understand Hayes’ impact on OSU.
“It’s a great chance for us to bring the side of Woody Hayes to the forefront that people may not have necessarily seen off the field,” she said.
Nationally recognized for his fiery temperament on the sidelines, Hayes lent his tutelage to a handful of the best-known players of the 20th century, the likes of which include Archie Griffin, a two-time Heisman Trophy winner and current president and CEO of the OSU Alumni Association.
Griffin will serve as master of ceremonies at the event.
“It’s an honor,” Griffin said. “He’s a man that I think about each and every day of my life because of the impact he had on me as an athlete,” he said. “Woody Hayes was a terrific coach who really cared a great deal about the university.”
Hayes was fired as OSU coach after he struck an opposing player in the 1978 Gator Bowl.
But Hayes’ legacy encompasses more than accomplishments and actions in the Athletic Department, something that Griffin said contributes to his persevering legacy.
“He was well-rounded, and that made him stand out from others,” Griffin said. “He certainly prided himself on being a great coach, but he prided himself even more on being a great teacher, and knowing about military history and politics really just added to who he was.”
Saunders said the tribute event will also raise money designated for OSU students, such as the Anne Hayes Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence, a scholarship in memory of Hayes’ wife for members of the College of Social Work.
Ticket sales will double as donations, with each ticket priced at $1,000, but tables of 10 are also available for purchase by sponsors.
Special guests at the event will include the son of Woody and Anne Hayes, Steven Hayes, ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger and NFL players and other sports celebrities from past eras.
Brian Anichowski, a first-year in mechanical engineering, said the university honoring a prominent OSU figure with a fundraising event is great because it benefits the students, however he said he wishes it wasn’t so exclusive.
“I think (the event) should be available for students though, because all of the traffic will affect us,” he said. “I’d probably go if I had the opportunity.”
Regardless, Griffin said he hopes people will follow in Hayes’ noted “pay-it-forward” mantra and attend the event.
“He was a man of integrity, a truly remarkable man who should never be forgotten,” he said. “I hope everybody comes out for the event, because I think it’s going to be a great one.”