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Buckeyes and Sabermetrics
Chamber of Commerce Speech, January 1979
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coachforcc.jpg
Coach Hayes on the sideline (given the mesh jerseys, I'd assume it is in the early 70's)

After he was fired, Coach Hayes' first public appearance was at a luncheon of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Below is my attempt to transcribe excerpts of this speech. Or it could be the whole speech; I am not sure as I have a recording of the speech on a CD that I received as a throw-in in an EBay purchase, without documentation. So I do not know if it is the full speech or not. I can tell you that the track on the CD runs for eleven minutes and forty-nine seconds, with an approximately nine second intro and about six seconds of applause at the end.

If anyone could tell me whether this is the full speech or not, I would appreciate. There may be errors in my transcription of the speech, but I have attempted to make it as accurate and as well-formatted as possible. Parentheses with a question mark are where I am not able to make out exactly what is said and am making an educated guess based on what it sounds like and the context. Brackets are where I'm adding things Coach Hayes didn't say in order to clarify:


Thank you friends. You know on the way down here I was doing just a little bit of reminiscing--it was in this room just a little over or a little less then twenty-eight years ago that I was introduced to the public, sports public of Columbus and Dr. Bevis, the president of the university at that time, was the man who introduced me, who became a great, great friend of mine and a wonderful advisor. A man on the Board of Trustees who helped to select me, as a matter of fact got his plane back to Columbus from the West Coast, helped select me here when there was quite a bit of reason not to do that, was a man who (evidently?) voted as he saw fit because I'd never seen him and he didn't know me. But he voted for me anyhow, and he still is sitting here. I hope he's not too sorry that he voted for me, the great Senator Bricker. And also, I'd like to add another who was a pretty young fellow about that time, five or six years old; he's grown up and he's a lawyer here in town now and may not be...he may be sort of ashamed of his dad now, but he'll just have to live through it and he will, my son...our son Steve Hayes.

You know when I felt bad about this incident, and got to reflecting, I thought of a night over New York City not very long ago at the Hall of Fame where I saw a man in his eighties bouncing around over there, two days after he'd lost the opportunity to get Pete Rose. And that man has the greatest resilience of any man I've ever known. And then I started saying "What the devil you feeling sorry for yourself about it? You've gotta get up and go once more." John [Galbreath], I'm honored to have you here today.

The incident down at Jacksonville was the matter of an instant. It was my attitude not to apologize, because I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame for it and go on from there. I've seen too many people who quickly apologize and sort of cop out. And I just don't think there are easy ways out of anything like that. And yet, the thing that makes me apologize is this: I feel very, very sorry for it because of the wonderful people its affected: my coaches, our football players--I miss them very much, my contact with them, I miss that...I hope they do too; I have a feeling that they do, because we have always had close contact with the football players. And when I made up my mind to apologize, it was through the offices of men like Archie Griffin and Daryl Sanders in particular.

Let's come a little bit closer to the university. I've mentioned this before, and I like to mention it outside the state of Ohio. The big four in our athletics, in professional sports. The sportsmen of the year, who is he? Jack Nicklaus. Jack Nicklaus, from The Ohio State University and educated right here in Columbus, Ohio. Who's the next one? What man had the greatest ovation when he retired a year ago? And he reminded me of what Cy Young had said fifty-five to sixty years ago back in Newcomerstown, and what he would tell us about Boston when he pitched in Boston, he said "I love Boston." And this man said the same thing when he retired, he said "Boston, I love you." And who was that? John Havlicek, he is Mr. Basketball. And then you go to football, the only two-time Heisman award winner, who off that field, that's the only time he's greater then when he's on the field. The greatest American athlete there's been--am I biased? Sure I'm biased, because I coached him. I know what kind of a person he is, I've never met a finer person then Archie Griffin. And then the man who's better then any of them, better then any, because he is the man as a sharecropper came to Cleveland, then to Ohio State, the greatest track man who ever lived: Jesse Owens, from The Ohio State University.

No one, no university, can even come close to those athletes. Sure, you can brag about our football, you could brag about the All-Americans we've had, all of those things. We take those too much for granted, perhaps. But those are the things that we're proud of here.

This new organization needs all the help they can get. Newspaper, radio, television, every honorable way you can help. Now later on, I can't tell you not to take potshots, you will. But for heavens' sake, get on the bandwagon now! I'm saying that, I'm giving you advice, because they need it now. Not later, but now, because you always need good athletes.

How good a coach is Coach Bruce? He's a great coach. Am I qualified to say? Yes, I know. He coached with us for seven years. He's honorable, he's smart, he's tenacious, he'll work, he'll get the job done--you can be sure of that. Will he make mistakes? Who doesn't? We all make mistakes; sure, he's not perfect, but he's a mighty fine coach and man, you'll be proud of him. My guess is he'll improve on the record that's been established in the last twenty-eight years, excepting one thing he won't do: my guess is he will not last as long as the previous incumbent.

Do I carry bitterness toward the organization? No, I carry bitterness towards me because we got that game, we got beaten down there when I thought we were going to win. And nobody in this world despises to lose like I do. No one in this world. It's been a failing of mine. It's gotten me into trouble more then once. But it's also taken a man with mediocre ability and made a pretty good coach out of him. Because I despise to lose.

How about my attitude toward this university? I've given this university about everything I had, and for me to be bitter, I'm bitter at losing because I thought we had that darn thing coming our way. I'm bitter at losing, and in the last two years I've felt we've lost games where my luck isn't what it used to be, because I've always believed in Woody's luck. And that one we lost against Oklahoma, nothing ever hurt me more then that, because we had that darn thing lost, when I lose a ballgame like that, I'm the stupidest coach that ever lived. I am the stupidest coach that ever lived when I blow one like that. Um-hmm. And we haven't won some of those close ones, so I paid for it. I paid for it. But I'll never take it out on this university because I love it too much.

I don't know whether I can come to football games; I know I couldn't sit still anywhere, I know that. I know that. As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago, and I've talked too long, we'll wind it up now. I got a call from a fella who said "I'm gonna fly down", and I said "Well you better not try, I'll meet you halfway, up at Doyt's house." "No," he said, "I'll fly down." Well, he's stubborn, he always thinks left-handed--his name's Bo Schembechler. And so I said "Alright, come ahead and fly down." But of course he never made it; the weather (socked?) in, and so I met him and Doyt, him and Doyt up in Bowling Green, and we spent, Doyt Perry, great friend of both of us (we had all coached together at one time), and we met up there and talked the entire Sunday afternoon. And when we got done, Bo was the one who said, "Woody, you ought to apologize." Well, of course, I'm just as stubborn as Bo is. But, now you people shouldn't, but I can now, confidentially, I like the man.

You know, Sandra (Burger?), I think it was President Buchanan who said that when he was young he wanted to be President, so that he could reward his friends and punish his enemies. But he said by the time he became President, most of his friends were gone and he found that his enemies were pretty good people after all. And you know, as I grow older, I have a difficult time ver disliking anyone. Unless it's on a matter of principles or something like that. But, I do like Bo, but you don't dare to. But I find there are so many, many great people in this world. The hundreds and hundreds, and literally thousands of letters that we received, that we can't get to the opening of them yet. And so many people. Am I bitter? Yeah, losing the darn ballgame, yeah, and I'll stay that way forever, because I felt we could win it. I thought we played good enough in that game to win, and we were the underdog and I loved it when we were underdogs, but we didn't. But bitterness? No. I got what was coming to me; let's just let it go that way, and let's just have good thoughts for everybody at that university, and I said everybody.

"And in the night of death", as Ingersoll said, "hope sees a star, and listening love hears the rustle of a wing."