Woody Hayes once demonstrated proper toughness to Ohio State’s coaching staff by having a turtle bite his penis. Hayes was fired from his post with the Buckeyes in December 1978, shortly after punching a Clemson player during a 17-15 Gator Bowl loss to the Tigers.
He was replaced by Earle Bruce, who Urban Meyer, the current OSU coach who served as an assistant under Bruce from 1986-87. Just after Meyer’s arrival in Columbus, Bruce brought in Hayes, then 73, to give his thoughts on where the program stood heading into the 1986 season. Hayes brought with him a turtle.
Meyer, speaking at the annual Ohio coaches convention, recounted the wildest coaching story ever heard. Said Meyer, via CoachingSearch.com:
“So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earle Bruce brings in Woody Hayes. I had been there just a week and I’m thinking, ‘Holy, this is Coach Hayes.’ I’m sitting in the back. Coach Hayes was not healthy at the time, but stands up and starts laying into the coaching staff about toughness. That we have no toughness in the program. That’s why we lost the game. On and on and screaming, this old guy pounding the table. He says, ‘We have no toughness, and the reason is because you’re not tough. No one on this staff is tough enough, and that’s a problem.’”Here comes the turtle. Meyer continued:
“He reaches down and grabs this box, slides the top and there was something in the box moving around. He reaches in and he pulls out this turtle. He reaches down, this turtle’s snapping and he says, ‘I’m going to show you toughness.’ He unzips his pants and takes out whatever he takes out. The turtle reaches up and snaps at him. You see the veins and the sweat (on Hayes). He screams at the coaches, ‘That’s toughness! That’s [expletive] toughness!’ He reaches down, pokes the turtle right in the eye and it falls off. He wipes the sweat off his forehead and says, ‘That’s the problem. We don’t have anybody in this room tough enough to do that right there.’”And the punch line, which is amazing. Meyer:
“(One assistant) raises his hand and says, ‘Coach, I’d do this. Just promise not to poke me in the eye.’”As said earlier, Woody Hayes once demonstrated proper toughness to Ohio State’s coaching staff by having a turtle bite his private parts. It worked: OSU went 10-3 in 1986, winning more than nine games for the first time since 1979, and capped its season with a 28-12 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.