Woody Hayes was one of most gifted and complex coaches of the twentieth century. Luckily, he was also one of the most photographed. Here you’ll find images, letters, media clips which give added insight into Woody’s life away from the football field.
The political figure, the military man, and the humanitarian who was also a lightning rod for controversy—browse the site to add to your understanding of this revered figure in American sport.
Although he will always be associated with Ohio State football, Coach Hayes had originally intended to become a lawyer before joining the Ohio State family. His path eventually led away from law and towards football, however.
Woody Hayes enlisted in the Navy in July of 1941, six months before Pearl Harbor. He asked for active duty and served his country for five years. In 1946, he was honorably discharged as a lieutenant commander, having commanded the PC 1251 in the Palau Island invasion and having served on the destroyer escort Rinehart in both the Atlantic and Pacific operations.
Many would be surprised to learn that the same man who said “I despise to lose. I’ve hated to lose ever since I was a kid and threw away the mallets when I lost at croquet,” also said “the important thing is not always to win. The important thing is always to hope.”
Although most of what is known publicly about the legendary Buckeye coach revolves around his running game and short fuse, Jeff Kaplan suggests in the documentary that “his life didn’t end when the Gator Bowl incident happened. In a lot of ways [Hayes’ life] had just begun.