Every Saturday night during College Football season, Channel 10 carried the Woody Hayes Show live at 11:30 pm, right after the news. The TV Director assigned to the weekend 11:00 pm Newscast also picked up directing the Woody Hayes Show. Additionally, because of the importance of Ohio State Football and of Woody Hayes, the station’s Director of Sports, Marty DeVictor, or the Assistant Sports Director, Ted Mullins were always there to host, even though Saturday was not their regular shift.
When my boss, Paul Yoakum asked me to do the Weekend 11:00 News, I was unaware of all that it entailed--getting in at Noon and being responsible for the station’s afternoon programming which was a mixture of sports, movies and cartoons, with a hard break at 6:28:30 to hit the CBS Evening News from New York at 6:30:00, straight up.
If the afternoon baseball game was rain-delayed or ran into extra innings, it was my job to “fill” the remainder to the next regularly scheduled program, or join our regularly scheduled movie “in progress” (the station rule was that if you missed the first 10 minutes of a movie because of a run-over sporting event, you were on your own to fill with something else – cartoons, a half-hour western or comedy or documentary, etc. It was a real juggling act and caused me a lot of agida.
Once into the CBS Evening News, I then would “time” each story they ran because we were taping it to use in our 11:00 pm News. I would decide which of the stories to use – generally, I used one hard news story, a Haywood Hale Broun sports story and a human interest story if possible, since our Anchorman, Wayne Byers – an acerbic, curmudgeon of sorts – did have a soft spot, and I liked to show it.
Then it was off to see what local news the Channel 10 News Department was working on -- accident on I-70, local inventor, Mayor Sensenbrenner raises parking meter rates.
In the middle of all of this, I would meet with the Ted Mullins about THE WOODY HAYES SHOW – three segments; first, Woody and Ted discuss game; second, Woody, Ted and the offensive star of the game; finally, Woody, Ted and the defensive star. But, not on this night – Woody was bringing the entire Defensive Team, because they had been outstanding in the 50-14 defeat of Michigan. Aaaand … Woody wanted each of the players miked, so they could talk at any time and because in Woody's mind, having your own microphone was a status symbol..
"Whaaaat! Their own mikes? We don’t have that many mikes!" I said with agida.
“Well, Ron you’re a bright guy. Figure something out!” said Ted with calm logic.
When I first understood that I was going to be involved with THE WOODY HAYES SHOW, I decided to try for a meeting with the Coach himself – to get to know him and so he could get to know me (like that would make a difference).
We met in Woody’s office at Ohio State. He was expecting me and made me feel welcome. At no time during the hour did I feel that he was unhappy at having to do this or that he was speaking down to me. He accepted me as a professional and seemed to enjoy the time we spent together. This could have been because the first five minutes were about me and the next 55 minutes were about him, the game of football and War, in general, and World War II specifically. Woody related everything in football to WAR – a titanic struggle of importance to the young men involved and to Ohio State.
“It’s not just a game, dogonnit, Giles. IT’S WAR!” and with that he slammed his ham-sized fist down on his standard issue gray metal desk.
Wayne Woodrow Hayes had enlisted in the Navy before Pearl Harbor and rose to become Lt. Commander by the end of World War II, commanding a Submarine Chaser, PC 1251, and then later the Destroyer-Escort, the USS Rinehart in the Pacific. The words “flank”, “block” and “offense” had many meanings to Coach Hayes.
“I want what’s best for each one of these players and to me that means that they have to give their best, do their best, be their best – and it just might take ME to bring it out of them. They need to know discipline, teamwork, how to set each other up for a personal victory, how to take one for the team. They might need to know what defeat tastes like and BY GOLLY they will taste VICTORY!”
I introduced Woody to Joan and he shook her hand. I saw the barely contained grimace on her face as Woody gave her his standard handshake which could deflate a football.
Just then a player rushed up to the coach and explained that they were having trouble “tapping” the beer keg. Woody excused himself and went over to the keg which was in a sling between two sawhorses. Woody bent over and looked at the keg, then backed up and hit the keg on the top with his fist.
I approached the Engineering Crew Chief, Oliver McNally, about the microphone problem. We only had four lavaliere mikes and Woody and Ted would wear two of them; I needed 14 more mikes!
I asked the Crew Chief if we could use a boom mike which would require another operator in the studio; someone would have to stay over an extra 30 minutes and get paid an hour of overtime (even though we did not have a Union, we behaved as if we did so as to prevent the need for one.)
“And who’s going to authorize the overtime?” the Chief asked.
“I will,” I said authoritatively, not knowing if I could in fact authorize it.
“You can’t do that,” he responded, knowing more than me in his fifteen years at the station, compared to my two.
“Look, Oliver, if it comes down to it, I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket.” (Joan and I couldn’t afford to buy beef stew meat rather than hamburger, so the overtime might set us back to bologna this month.)
“OK, but I’m going to hold you to paying the overtime if management won’t,” said Mac.
Now to position it with Coach Hayes. The Grange Mutual reps arrived with Woody at 10:30 pm. I explained that instead of everyone having their own mike, we had even a better situation for the Defensive Team – a Boom Mike. It would be cleaner than fourteen mikes because the players could trip over so many cables! Everyone loved the solution, and Yoakum told me later that keeping Woody happy was good business for all of us; the station would pick up the overtime – no bologna necessary for the Giles family! Beef Stew was still a little ways off, though.
Quotes from Woody Hayes:
- "You don't get hurt running straight ahead...three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. I will pound you and pound you until you quit."
- "I don't live in the past. I'm a student of the past, and I try to learn from the past, although some people will say, 'You haven't done a very good job of it.' But for me to live in the past? No.”
- "The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium."
- "I'm not trying to win a popularity poll. I'm trying to win football games. I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people."
- “Coach, you were ahead by an insurmountable margin. Why did you go for a two point conversion after the final touchdown?” Coach Hayes: “Because I couldn't go for three points.”