Woody Hayes served as the Ohio State Buckeyes coach from 1951-1978, winning five national championships during his tenure. It is not surprising that his impact upon the Buckeyes football program lasted far beyond his coaching tenure and had a profound effect on all Ohio State coaches who followed him.
One such example of how Hayes remained an integral figure in Columbus was relayed by current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer during a recent Ohio coaches convention. Meyer served as an assistant on the Buckeyes coaching staff in the 1980s when Earl Bruce was at the helm. During a one-hour presentation at the coaches convention, Meyer regaled those in attendance with a story about Hayes that is so ridiculously absurd it has to be true.
Meyer said that Bruce brought in Hayes to inspire the coaching staff and teach them about toughness. And to demonstrate what real toughness was, Hayes utilized a turtle in his presentation in a manner that surely caught everyone’s attention…and subsequent revulsion and horror: Hayes took out the reptile and allowed it to chomp down on his penis. Yep.
“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 f’n 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.
“(One assistant) raises his hand and says, ‘Coach, I’d do this. Just promise not to poke me in the eye.’”
There you go. Obviously, the turtle in question was not a snapping turtle or the outcome of Hayes’ act would have had a much more dire — and bloody — outcome. Sheesh.
Still, I’m not sure allowing a turtle to bite one’s penis is a demonstration of toughness. Instead, it is far more likely it’s an indication that an individual may be unhinged and have a few screws loose, not to mention an affinity for some ill-conceived hybrid of live-animal prop comedy and self-mutilation.
UPDATE 2/13/13: It turns out that Meyer was joking around and has told variations of the same story in the past. How very disappointing. Sigh.