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Was Woody Hayes Enough Of A Damn Maniac To Use A Penis-Biting Turtle As A Motivational Tool? And If So, Did It Work?

  • Glenn Davis

Woody Hayes: great coach. Ohio State legend. Synonymous with old-school, hard-nosed football. 219 careers wins. Four unbeaten seasons. Oh, and also: a little unhinged. That quality was most infamously manifested in the opponent-punch episode that cost Hayes his job at the school where was a living legend, but it wasn’t the only time he let his inner crazy shine. And now, thanks to a story Urban Meyer told at a recent high school coaching clinic (and swore is true), we now know the story of Hayes’ most audacious motivational stunt. At least we hope it was his most audacious motivational stunt. The story begins at about 2:20 into the clip below:

And there you have it. Coaches dropping or otherwise un-fastening their pants to try to motivate their team? Possibly more common than you think. Coaches dropping or otherwise un-fastening their pants, then all but making a BME video (you know what, if you’re unfamiliar with BME, do yourself a favor and don’t even look it up) to motivate coaches? That’s pretty much unheard of – enough so that plenty are wondering whether it even really happened. Meyer’s told this story before, and as best we can tell upon a rudimentary internet search, it’s not some urban legend he just adapted by using Woody Hayes’ name, so we’ll take him at his word and assume it’s the real deal.

But the even bigger question here: if Hayes truly did use this as a motivational tactic, did it work? Let’s take a look. Meyer served as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1986 and 1987. Meyer said the Hayes incident happened right after he arrived, which would mean 1985 would have been the previous season (the Buckeyes actually won their bowl game that year, but it would be understandable if Meyer remembered it wrong after almost 30 years. 1985 was OSU’s sixth straight 9-3 finish. Did Hayes’ penis and the turtle inspire the staff to lead the team to greater heights? Well, in 1986, Ohio State finished… 10-3! Incredible! Hayes’ stunt added a game to the team’s schedule!

“Well, okay,” you might say. “9-3 and 10-3 sound pretty similar to me. It’s almost as if an insane stunt had no bearing on the ability of a group of guys to get a team to win football games. I don’t really think it helped.” And you are wrong. How do we know? Well, just take an EXCLUSIVE LOOK at the 1986 section of the college football record book:

Never question the legacy of Woody Hayes again.

[SB Nation]

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