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Hayes Is Remembered for Toughness on the Field and Loyalty Off It

March 13, 1987|From Staff and Wire Reports

Woody Hayes' death Thursday in suburban Columbus, Ohio, prompted tributes by admirers in and out of football.

"What sticks out in my mind right now are all the good things he did for his former players and coaches," said Earle Bruce, once an assistant under Hayes and now the coach at Ohio State. "He always had a lot of time for them.

"He was a tremendously different person off the field than on. Off the field, he knew everybody's name and always had a word of advice. On the field, he was quite demanding, to say the least."

Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler, also a former assistant under Hayes, said: "Woody was a great personal friend of mine, and this is a tremendous loss. He was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, football coach we've ever had in the Big Ten football conference.

"He was almost like a father to me. He was my mentor, and I was very close to him."

Said a tearful Dick Schafrath, an Ohio state senator who played on one of Hayes' national championship teams: "Loyalty meant everything in the world to Woody. Everything I ever asked this man, he never turned me down."

Archie Griffin, the only player to win the Heisman Trophy twice, said: "I loved the man. He meant everything to me. It hit me as if my father had passed away. He was a man who cared about people like nobody else did."

Vietnam veteran Bill Alkire, a San Diego advertising man, recalled meeting Hayes on one of several visits Hayes made to servicemen in the Far East. "It was 1969 and Woody told me that if there was ever anything he could do for me, I should let him know. He probably told that to a lot of guys.

"Then before the 1975 Rose Bowl, I was living in Oregon. I wanted to go to the Rose Bowl, but it was impossible to get tickets. So I remembered what he said and called him up. I was surprised that his phone number was listed.

"I told his wife what he'd told me and asked if he could get me some tickets. She called me back on Christmas Eve and offered Woody's regrets for not calling himself but said there would be four tickets for me at will call."

President Reagan called Hayes "an institution at OSU," saying in a statement: "He had a special knack for knowing just what to do to get an athlete to go the extra mile."

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