Visitors to Ohio State’s football facility will no longer need to wonder what the person whose name on the building looked like.
A statue of iconic head coach Woody Hayes was erected outside the entrance to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday afternoon as part of the ongoing celebration of the anniversary of what would be Hayes’ 100th birthday.
On a snowy afternoon in Columbus, the statue met the approval of onlookers, including the famous Buckeye mentor’s son, Steven.
“I like it – it’s great,” he said as workers worked to secure the statue to its base. “They captured his intensity. Other sculptures I’ve seen didn’t. They were good, but this is the whole package. I really like it. I’m real happy.”
Also part of the celebration this month is the Woody and Anne Hayes Tribute dinner planned for Friday night at the football facility.
The younger Hayes is the honorary chair for the event and said he is happy his late mother was not left out of the plans.
“She was always in the background. She wanted it that way, but she deserves the recognition,” he said.
“She was just as strong as he was. Believe me, she would stop him in his tracks. She did – when it was important enough. One thing she said was, ‘I gave him time to do his job.’ He wasn’t around a lot. He worked like a fiend, so it was interesting. It really was very interesting.”
The dinner is to start at 7 p.m., and proceeds are to go to three favorite causes of the couple: the Anne Hayes Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence, which supports students in the College of Social Work; the Woody and Anne Hayes 1968 National Championship Athletic Scholarship Fund, which provides or supplements scholarships for former varsity football players; and the Wayne Woodrow Hayes Chair in National Security Studies, a position dedicated to conducting research and educating a new generation in national security studies.
For tickets or additional information about the Woody and Anne Hayes Tribute Event, call (800) 762-5646.
The emcee of the event will be Archie Griffin, who played running back for Hayes from 1972-75 and is the only player to win the Heisman Trophy twice. Griffin is the president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association.
In announcing the event, the school said it expects attendees to include “noted NFL players, sports leaders and sports celebrities from multiple eras.” That list will include long-time television network sportscaster Brent Musburger.
Woody Hayes, who was born Feb. 14, 1913, in Clifton, Ohio, was the head coach of the Ohio State football team from 1951-78. He led the Buckeyes to five national championships and 13 Big Ten titles while posting a record of 205-61-10.
Hayes’ love for the university was well-known and exhibited during his speech to graduates at Ohio State’s winter commencement in 1986 when he spoke of “paying forward.” That was his motivational phrase about the importance of taking public and personal responsibility. The idea has sparked numerous university groups dedicated to public service and giving back.
The university plans other activities to recognize Hayes and his accomplishments as well, including an online exhibit about Anne and Woody Hayes produced by University Archives.
Viewable at http://library.osu.edu/projects/woody-hayes/, the exhibit features pages covering Hayes’ education and military service, politics, philanthropy, football and legacy.
Additionally, the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library is hosting an exhibit that will run from Jan. 7 through the end of February. It features photographs, correspondence, game programs, footballs, hats, jackets, plaques, awards, license plates, ticket stubs, pennants and other athletic memorabilia. Themes of the exhibit include “Anne Hayes,” “Woody and Bo,” “Philanthropy, Education and Military Service,” “Politics,” “Rose Bowl Victories,” “Woody on the Field,” and “Legacy.” Woody’s original couch is also part of the exhibit.
“I’m very proud of him, and I’m very proud of my mother,” Steven Hayes said. “Neither one of them were perfect, and neither of them tried to, but they got it right. They really did.”
He smiled as he declared of his mother, “There was no better recruiter.”
“At one time you could have your recruits in your home. She’d get the mother at the kitchen table and look out.”
For more pictures from the event, see the Buckeye Sports Bulletin page on Facebook.