Urban Meyer says former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes let a turtle bite his Johnson to make a point about toughness
Coaches are only as good as their motivational tactics, which may be one of the reasons former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes enjoyed so much success with the Buckeyes in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The five-time national champion helped mold Ohio State into the powerhouse that it is today, and you know what they say — you can’t build a contender without letting a turtle bite you in the private parts.
Alright, so no one says that. But according to Urban Meyer, Hayes once did it. When Meyer was an assistant coach at OSU from 1986-87, he said then-head coach Earle Bruce brought in a 73-year-old Hayes to speak with the coaching staff about the current state of the program. At the annual coaches convention at Ohio State earlier this week, Meyer told a story about that day. CoachingSearch.com shared the fantastic details with us:
“So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earl Bruce brings in Woody Hayes,” Meyer recalled. “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.’
“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.'”
Perhaps the best part of the story was the reaction that Meyer said one of the assistant coaches had.
“(One assistant) raises his hand and says, ‘Coach, I’d do this. Just promise not to poke me in the eye.'”
The Buckeyes went 10-3 that year, winning more than nine games in a season for the first time since 1979. They ended their season with a 28-12 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. To this day, it is not believed that any coaches or former coaches have allowed reptiles to clamp onto their genitals to prove a point. It works, there just aren’t any coaches out there who are tough enough to do it.
H/T Game On!