A loyal Republican, Hayes was not content to remain on the political sidelines, especially in his home state of Ohio. He was a vocal supporter and friend to many Republican presidents, including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Hayes and Nixon were so close that the President gave the eulogy at Hayes’ funeral in 1987. Hayes was frequently invited to the White House for events and celebrations.
Though never a politician himself, Hayes made numerous appearances at political events and fund raisers. Hayes, Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes and President Richard Nixon, 1970
This letter from President Richard Nixon after Hayes was fired from his coaching position shows how close the friendship between the two men was. Letter from Nixon to Hayes, 1979
The photo’s inscription reads “To Woody Hayes for whose loyal friendship I shall always be grateful - Richard Nixon 3-11-87” Hayes poses with Richard Nixon, c. 1980s
Former President Richard Nixon jokes that Hayes should consider a run for the presidency himself. Letter from Nixon to Hayes, 1979
Nixon’s inscription reads “To Woody Hayes with best wishes from his loyal friend –Dick Nixon.” Hayes and Nixon, undated
Hayes shakes hands with First Lady Betty Ford. Ford’s inscription reads “To Woody Hayes- with my very best wishes. Betty Ford.” Hayes and Betty Ford, 1976
After Nixon, Hayes was closest to President Gerald Ford. This letter of support arrived shortly after Hayes was fired. Letter from Ford to Hayes, 1979
Hayes poses with President Gerald Ford. Hayes and Ford, 1976
Here, Hayes appears with not only former President Ford but also a young John Kasich. Kasich has since had a successful career in Ohio politics and is Ohio’s current Governor. Ford, Kasich and Hayes, 1982
Hayes was presented with this elephant by the Republican Insiders Club. Cast bronze sculpture of a bull elephant mounted on a wooden base, 1986
Hayes’ political involvement continued into Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Hayes and Reagan, c. 1980s
President Ronald Reagan acknowledges Hayes’ philanthropic efforts in this letter of congratulations. Letter from Reagan to Hayes, 1986
A letter from U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, thanking Hayes for his work on behalf of the Republican Party in Ohio. Letter from Dole to Hayes, 1986
Hayes shakes hands with Second Lady Barbara Bush while Vice President George Bush looks on. Barbara and George Bush, and Hayes, undated
This award was presented to Hayes by the Ohio League of Young Republicans “In recognition of an outstanding community leader, a man who has devoted himself to charity as well as civic enterprise and humanity in general.” Frances P. Bolton Award, 1982
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