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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Woody Hayes, 74, dies of heart attack
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

March 12, 1987

Woody Hayes once said that when he died, he wanted it to be on the 50-yard line at Ohio Stadium. Instead, he succumbs in his sleep to a heart attack at his home in a Columbus suburb. He was 74.

In Hayes' controversial 28-year career (1951-78) as Ohio State coach, he won two national championships (1954 and 1968) and won or shared 13 Big 10 titles. His Buckeyes went 205-61-10. Overall, Hayes, who coached at his alma mater Denison and Miami of Ohio for five seasons, had a 238-72-10 record. "He's like a volcano waiting to explode," said Esco Sarkkinen, a Hayes assistant for 27 years at Ohio State.

Hayes' final explosion on the gridiron came when he punched a Clemson player during Ohio State's loss in the 1978 Gator Bowl. He was fired the next day.

A favorite story in Ohio is about the man who went to heaven, where at a football game he saw a fat old man in a baseball cap jumping up and down on the sidelines. "Who is that madman?" the new arrival asked St. Peter.

"That's God," St. Peter replied. "But he thinks he's Woody Hayes."

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