In fairness to the coaches, the university, the alumni and those who have adopted Ohio State, I feel that Mr. Shaplen should have detailed the departures of Woody Hayes's four predecessors since 1941. Take Paul Brown. He coached Ohio State to a national and Big Ten championship in 1942. In 1943 he lost that team to the various military arms and came up with a losing season. Upon completion of that season he went into the Navy, coaching at Great Lakes. There was no pressure or firing there. Carroll Widdoes, his able assistant coach, took over, supposedly for the duration until Brown would return. He had an undefeated team in 1944, composed mainly of freshmen and one brilliant veteran, Leslie Horvath. He was named coach of the year. After the 1945 season, a season of seven wins and two defeats, Widdoes stepped down to assistant, allowing Paul Bixler, another Brown product, a crack at the head coaching job. Widdoes never really wanted the head coaching spot, but stepped in to help out.
As for Bixler, his team didn't come through, and there was considerable howling for his removal. He beat the howls and left. After Bixler came Wesley Fesler. He took Ohio State to a divided championship with Michigan in 1949 and the Rose Bowl, gaining a 17-14 win over California. He left because of pressure in 1950 after a 6-3 season. The pressure certainly was a factor in the resignations of Bixler and Fesler. But it seems as though there were other reasons for Brown and Widdoes. I agree that the tremendous pressure for winning does exist in Columbus. I lived there practically all my life and grew up with it and that intense desire for winning. I won't attempt to argue the merits of this point. However I do feel, in all my years of being associated with Ohio State University and following their football fortunes, that the pressure that annually builds up is traceable to the numerous self-styled quarterback clubs and an overly critical press that has tried to captain the Ohio State football team in more ways than one.
I enjoyed your article on Ohio State football very much but I believe it was sized up much more tersely by some gentleman behind me at the OSU-Duke game.
After the half-time ceremonies when the band put on its usual marvelous performance and after the nasty boys from Duke had made a sieve of the Ohio pass defense and had done almost the same or worse to the line, this rooter came up with "Boy, am I glad that Woody doesn't coach the band."
ROBT. E. FITZSIMONS
Just read your article about Woody Hayes and the OSU "do-or-die" dynasty. How very true are the words you speak. We lived in Columbus during the years of 1952 and '53.
And then in September of 1954 we moved to the home of Michigan State. Although '54 was a rather poor season for Duffy Daugherty and his team, never once did I hear anything but praise for that team and its coaches. Everyone felt that they were doing their best. Now this year Michigan State is enjoying a better football year. Believe me, it's wonderful to see football fans that are just as gracious in victory as they were in defeat. In this part of the country you will find wholehearted support for MSU and Duffy Daugherty from a unique type of fan that loves the football scene—win or lose.
East Lansing, Mich.
IF HE IS RIGHT...
Coach Hayes seems to feel that in producing a group of all-conquering heroes, he must throw out everything of value in the great game of football. He seems to believe that to win, a coach must harangue, and that it is a very minor detail if playing becomes a chore.
If I thought this were true, I would no longer aspire to coach football. It would be an extremely worthless game. If a coach must boss, instead of lead, to win, then I believe that he must of necessity throw out any idea of teaching such values of cooperation, loyalty and a good attitude, to mention just a few educational qualities in football.
If Coach Hayes is right in his ideas, then football has no place in an educational institution.
THE OLD AND FAMOUS RACES
The Greater New York Association is, I believe, going to build a dream track (SI, April 21) and they want the public's opinion and suggestions. This is all well and good. But, if they discontinue using one or more of the tracks, what is going to happen to the old and famous races that have been run there and other places for so many years? It is my opinion that they should be continued and not lose their stature to any new and richer races.