Remembering Woody Hayes Punching a Clemson Player in the Throat and Immediately Getting Fired

Iconic Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Woody Hayes
Iconic Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Woody Hayes / James Flores/Getty Images

Woody Hayes arrived at Ohio State in 1951 and went undefeated with a Rose Bowl victory by his fourth season. The legendary coach was the face of the program and made Ohio State one of the most desirable places to play college football over his nearly three decades in charge.

Unfortunately, his abrupt departure from the program following the 1978 Gator Bowl against Clemson sticks out as a sad and shameful moment. Losing the game was not the problem, either -- it was the fact Hayes lost his mind and struck Clemson's Charlie Bauman in the throat on the sideline. The Clemson defender had just made a key interception and was tackled on his way out of bounds, and Hayes wound up and clocked him, triggering a brawl between the two teams.

When is the last time a coach caused a benches-clearing brawl like that? Theres' a reason you don't see this kind of thing basically ever.

Bauman was not legitimately hurt, but the damage was done. Hayes' legendary career came to a startling conclusion when he was fired by the university the very next day.

And that was that.

The television announcers did not comment on the punch during the broadcast, but the video told the story. Coaches, no matter how prolific, simply cannot behave the way Hayes did. The Buckeyes proceeded to do just fine under successor Earle Bruce, and Hayes' image has more than recovered with the passing of time. It is simply unfortunate that his run in Columbus skidded to a halt with such a nasty, needless episode.