COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former Ohio State president Harold
Enarson, who fired Woody Hayes after the football coach slugged an
opposing player in a 1978 bowl game, has died. He was 87.
Enarson had been in good health until the past few months, said
his wife of 64 years, Audrey. He died Friday in Port Townsend,
Enarson was Ohio State's president from September 1972 until
September 1981. During his tenure, the university grew in
enrollment and increased its hiring of women and minorities.
He presided over two universities during tumultuous times on
American campuses and wrestled with anti-war demonstrations in
addition to labor and fundraising problems. Still, he was forever
linked to the downfall of Hayes, Ohio State's volatile and
successful coach for 28 years.
With 1:59 left in the Buckeyes' Gator Bowl loss against Clemson
on Dec. 29, 1978, middle guard Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass
thrown by Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. Bauman ran out of
bounds at the Ohio State bench. When Bauman got up after being
tackled, Hayes hit him and had to be pulled away by Buckeyes
Enarson and then-Ohio State athletic director Hugh Hindman met
late into the night and decided that Hayes would be relieved of his
duties. Hindman went to Hayes' hotel room the next morning to tell
him he was fired.
"I will forever be associated with the firing of Woody,"
Enarson told The Columbus Dispatch in 2001.
Speaking of his tenure for an oral history by the university in
2002, Enarson said he and Hindman agreed that Hayes had to be
dismissed. Hayes refused to apologize for his behavior, and so he
was given no opportunity to resign in lieu of being fired, Enarson
Enarson served two terms and more than 20 years as a director of
the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, before and
after his years in Ohio.
Growing up poor in New Mexico during the Depression, Enarson
enlisted in the Army right after Pearl Harbor, graduated from and
worked for the University of New Mexico and also helped expand and
revive Cleveland State University in seven years as the fledgling
In addition to his wife, Enarson is survived by three daughters.