Hayes still had
his troubles though. His nerves were strung together with football laces. On
more than one occasion his assistant coach, Rix Yard, and his close friend,
Mike Gregory, a local hardware man, had to intervene to maintain harmony
between him and his players.
himself as hard as the rest of us," Yard says. "The secret of his
success has always been that he sticks to what he believes is right, even if
he's wrong. He never stopped thinking football. One afternoon he caught me
reading. 'What the hell d'you mean, reading a book during football season?' he
In 1949 Hayes
moved on to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he won five and lost four.
"Woody will have trouble in his first year wherever he goes," his
friends say. "It takes time to get to know him and his ways." The next
season seemed to prove the point. Miami won eight out of nine and climaxed the
season with a Salad Bowl victory over Arizona State.
As far back as
Denison, Hayes had his cap set on OSU. "In 1951, when the job was open, I
spent an hour and a half trying to dissuade him, telling him about the
wolves," Mike Gregory says. "But he wouldn't listen. It was a
After 71 days of
deliberation, the OSU trustees were won over by Hayes's oratory (later Hayes
said: "Before I went to see them, I didn't think I had a chance, but after
talking to them for three hours I knew I had the job").
building up public confidence in himself at once. "We may not win 'em all,
but we'll show you the fightingest team you've ever seen," he said in the
first of many speeches. "I promise you we'll never be
HOW TO BE
That last was an
understatement. Hayes's obsession for condition and discipline almost ruined
his first year's team. While he continued to treat the Frontliners and the
others with kid gloves (more than one subdued wolf was heard to murmur, "If
he can coach like he can talk, maybe he will be our man"), he drove his
squad mercilessly. The players came to hate him.
in overlearning," Hayes maintained. "That way you're sure." One of
his favorite gimmicks was "gassers," six or more laps around the field
at the end of each grueling practice session. "The fellows don't think too
much of all this running," Woody joked at one of the downtown alumni
gatherings, "but they'll thank me for it once the season starts."
During one drill one hot afternoon, far from thanking him, three men collapsed
from heat exhaustion.
When he wasn't
running them ragged, Hayes was talking his players deaf. "We set a record
for meetings," Tackle Dick Logan said later. "We had meetings about
meetings, and when we weren't in a meeting we were out running some more. When
we finished running, we had a meeting about that too."