~ Woody Hayes
On Monday, December 15th 2008 (at 3PM CST) ESPN Classic is going to replay the he 1978 Gator Bowl. Most of you will ask: Who cares ? ESPN Classic shows old football games all the time.
But this is a special game (originally played on December 29, 1978) featuring THE Ohio State Buckeyes and the Clemson Tigers. This would be legendary Buckeye Coach Woody Hayes' last game on the sidelines.
It was not that interesting of a contest until a point with a few seconds remaining in the game, trailing 17-15 but moving to score, Ohio State QB Art Schlichter threw a pass that sailed wide and was intercepted by Clemson player Charlie Bauman. He gets pushed out of bounds. Bauman's teammates cluster around him on the Ohio State sideline -- doing all the congratulatory things football players do. Then so suddenly that TV cameras didn't pick it up clearly, a white-haired man wearing a jacket and baseball cap charges into the midst of the melee and throws a right-hand sucker punch that lands on Bauman's collarbone. Woody Hayes punched Bauman.
Chaos erupted. Ohio State lost the game. Woody is asked by OSU to retire. He refuses. By the time the team returns home the next day, Woody Hayes has been fired by the school he made legendary. At the Columbus airport, police escort him from the plane to a car waiting on the tarmac, and he is driven off -- to his house and into retirement. He never apologized.
"I don't say that anymore. I found out four things can happen on a forward pass. The fourth is that you can get fired."
~ Woody Hayes