Hayes Memorialized With Historical Marker

On April 23, legendary OSU coach Woody Hayes was given a historical marker outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU head coach Jim Tressel was present for the dedication.

As one of Ohio's distinguished citizens, it is only fitting that Woody Hayes has been immortalized with his own Ohio Bicentennial plaque outside the north entrance to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

OSU coach Jim Tressel joined Lee Yoakum of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission in dedicating the plaque during an April 23 ceremony.

The Hayes marker is one of an estimated 1,000 historical markers placed throughout the state's 88 counties. Between 1953-97, roughly 340 historical markers were erected around the state. Since then, more than 650 Bicentennial markers were erected. (The state celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2003.)

"As a student of history, I am sure that Woody Hayes would have liked the Bicentennial marker program," Yoakum said.

Tressel took a special interest in participating in the marker dedication.

"My mother (Eloise Tressel) was very active in the Ohio Historical Society," the coach said. "She was the president of the society for three years. I know she would have also been proud that we are commemorating Coach Hayes with this marker.

"In my father's (longtime Baldwin Wallace coach Lee Tressel) last week of his life, Coach Hayes drove to Cleveland and sat with him on his deathbed. That was the kind of guy Woody Hayes was. We all know the impact Coach Hayes had in the game of football and for football in this state.

"It is a special day on our campus to preserve history out in front of a building that is awfully special to us. We know it is the responsibility we have to uphold the tradition of the people who came before us and to try and create more history."

The new Hayes marker joins two other Ohio historical markers on the OSU campus. One commemorates Ohio Stadium as a national landmark. The other is for Olympic track star Jesse Owens outside the Jesse Owens Memorial track and soccer stadium.

In his remarks, Yoakum mentioned another OSU figure who could be in line for his own marker someday.

"It is neat that Woody Hayes' legacy is still visible on this campus," he said. "Ohio will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2053. You wonder if, at that time, they may be here dedicating another plaque to another coaching legend who has five of six national championships."

Here is how the new plaque for Coach Hayes reads:

"Over his 28-year coaching career, Woody Hayes (1913-1987) cemented The Ohio State University's tradition of football excellence while amassing one of the most impressive records in college football history. Wayne Woodrow Hayes grew up in Newcomerstown and graduated from Denison University in 1935; after coaching two years at Denison and three at Miami, he began coaching at Ohio State in 1951. He led the Buckeyes to 205 wins, thirteen Big Ten titles and five national championships. Passionate and committed to victory, Hayes fielded highly disciplined teams, characterized by his trademark "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense and staunch defense. Off the field, he stressed academic achievement and taught history during the off-season."

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