Education and Military Service
Woody Hayes graduated from Denison University in 1935 with degrees in history and English, and a minor in physical education. In 1948, he completed a master’s degree in Educational Administration at OSU. He planned on getting a law degree, but first his service in the Navy from 1941-46, then his subsequent successful college coaching career at Denison, Miami and finally, Ohio State, changed his plans. In spite of this shift in careers, Hayes never gave up his love of learning, and he strongly encouraged his players to take their studies seriously and finish their degrees. While at Ohio State, he was a frequent guest lecturer on topics of military history, and his office was full of his large collection of books on topics ranging from football to politics to Transcendentalist philosophy. An endowed chair in National Security Studies, as well as numerous scholarships established to assist athletes and their families, now bear his name.
In 1941, five months before Pearl Harbor, Hayes joined the Navy. Hayes during his time in the Navy, c. 1940s
Hayes achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was commander of both the U.S.S. PC-1251, a patrol boat in the Palau Islands, and the destroyer escort, the U.S.S. Rinehart. Hayes and two unidentified men, c. 1940s
Hayes was honorably discharged from military service in 1946, but his interest in Military Science continued throughout the rest of his life. Discharge form, 1946
Even after his service was completed, Hayes worked with the Navy to recruit promising young men. Glass-bottomed pewter beer stein with the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command logo and "Coach Woody Hayes - Navy Recruiter" etched on the front, undated
One of many awards given in recognition of Hayes’ life and service, this plaque was presented by the Central Ohio Retired Officers Club. Wooden plaque with a plate inscribed "Outstanding Citizen Award to LCDR Woodrow W. Hayes," undated
Hayes had a strong interest in the Vietnam War and was friends with many of its military leaders, including U.S. Army General William Westmoreland and Marine Corps Assistant Commander Lewis William Walt. Woody Hayes viewing a map of South Vietnam, 1966
Hayes was long a devotee of Emerson, particularly his essay on Compensation, from which Hayes took his well-known catchphrase, “paying forward.” Courtesy William Munroe Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library, 1982
Hayes was a popular guest lecturer in classes during and after his tenure as football coach. Hayes lectures a class, c. 1980s
In 1982, Hayes was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Ohio State University. Hayes at Commencement, 1982
Though Hayes never earned a doctorate, he received an honorary doctorate from Rio Grande College in 1983. Wooden plaque with a certificate containing an honorary Doctor of Education degree conferred on Wayne W. Hayes by Rio Grande College, 1983
Hayes received an honorary doctorate and was also invited to give the commencement speech in 1986 at OSU. Hayes accepts an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from OSU President Edward Jennings, 1986
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