Woody Hayes KO'd Himself at Gator Bowl

Bobby Knight grabbed one of his players by the shirt and twisted. Frank Beamer slapped a player on the sideline. Leo Durocher and Earl Weaver screamed at umpires until their faces turned purple. But no coach or manager in America's often violent sports culture ever lost it as completely as Wayne Woodrow Hayes.

 

Dec. 29, 1978, Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla.: Hayes' Ohio State team is trailing Clemson 17-15 but threatening from the enemy's 24 in the final minute until Tigers linebacker Charlie Bauman intercepts a pass by freshman quarterback Art Schlichter. End of threat, but not of excitement.

 

Bauman's teammates cluster around him after he was knocked out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline — rubbing helmets, exchanging hand slaps and doing all the other congratulatory things football players do. Then so suddenly that ABC's cameras didn't pick it up clearly, a white-haired man wearing a jacket and baseball cap charges into the midst of the melee and throws a right-hand sucker punch that lands on Bauman's collarbone.

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