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Urban Meyer tells an interesting story about Woody Hayes

Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller

Current Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer is easily one of the best motivators in college football. Speaking at a seminar for Ohio high school coaches recently, Meyer shared an interesting story — later clarified by Ohio State to be a joke — about motivation and toughness. Specifically, it involves former Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes, a turtle and something else that we can’t say because, well, you’ll see.

So, without any further delay, we’ll let Meyer take it away:

(Disclaimer: we’re required to warn you that the subject of the story is iffy in case you’re easily offended or anything. You know, to cover our behinds. Or, other things. You know what? I’m just going to stop right there before I get in trouble.) 

“So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earl Bruce brings in Woody Hayes. 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 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.'”

Now, it should be noted that, according to OSU AD for communication Jerry Emig, the story was told by Meyer multiple times before, with Hayes’ name swapped with former Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce.

But in a story like that one, the name’s not as important as the message… I think?

(Hat tip:

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21 Responses to “Urban Meyer tells an interesting story about Woody Hayes”
  1. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Feb 12, 2013 4:50 PM

    Sounds like a typical buckeye lying or exaggerating the truth. Urb may be the new head coach, but some things will never change!

  2. bamafan36 says: Feb 12, 2013 4:57 PM

    I’m no fan of either Meyer or OSU…..but…..THAT ISH IS F U N N Y!!!!

  3. angelheartsbuckeyes says: Feb 12, 2013 5:12 PM


    Umm, its a joke. Not a representation of reality. Like, for example, if I said “Denver is going to win a Superbowl in the next five years.”

    See, now everyone is laughing.

  4. gatorprof says: Feb 12, 2013 5:26 PM

    I will officially call BS on this whole thing.

    Meyer was at OSU as an assistant for the 86 and 87 seasons.

    Hayes died March 12, 1987. Therefore this had to have happened before the 1986 season.

    OSU beat BYU 10-7 on 12/28/85…so much for losing a bowl game.

    His obituary in the NYT says that he was in failing health for several years prior to his death.

    Too many inconsistencies to be truth.

  5. briwis7 says: Feb 12, 2013 5:30 PM

    I guess we know what school wanted Maryland in the B1G

  6. Deb says: Feb 12, 2013 5:47 PM

    @angelheartsbuckeyes …

    You’re right!!! Kinda grinned during the turtle story, but laughed so hard at your punchline that I choked! 😀

  7. handsofsweed says: Feb 12, 2013 6:24 PM

    This is insane! If you’re going to make up a story, you do it right. Well done, Urb. I almost choked from laughing so hard.

  8. dkhhuey says: Feb 12, 2013 7:00 PM

    I saw the video of that speech and that story was freakin hilarious!!!

  9. takingbovadasmoney says: Feb 12, 2013 7:12 PM

    Imagine the stories if he coached at Penn State.

  10. onceuponatimeinsports says: Feb 12, 2013 8:17 PM

    Oh c’mon takingbovadasmoney. You know everyone at Penn St has their eyes closed….

  11. irishdodger says: Feb 12, 2013 8:20 PM

    I’ve heard a similar story but it was Jackie Sherrill grabbing a baby gator and letting it bite his rear. He let it hang off his hind end until he poke it in the eye at which point it released Jackie’s arse. Then when he asked for volunteers, it was some big dumb OL who responded w/ “I’ll do it coach if you promise not to poke me in the eye.” Obviously, this is more fiction than fact on all counts. Funny story though.

  12. bamafan36 says: Feb 12, 2013 8:20 PM

    Had he been at State Penn, the assistant would have been in the box…

  13. BrownsTown says: Feb 12, 2013 8:53 PM

    …..or, “Peyton Manning will surely lead to more playoff wins than Tebow!”

  14. jrs45 says: Feb 13, 2013 12:16 AM

    God I love Woody Hayes!!!

  15. mtheparrothead says: Feb 13, 2013 12:26 AM

    Should have known it was a lie when they suggested anyone associated with osu had enough to pinch.

  16. cfballfan1 says: Feb 13, 2013 8:17 AM

    Urban is like school on Saturday – no class.

  17. dumbpollack says: Feb 13, 2013 8:32 AM

    Hey Elway, kiss my scarlet ass!

  18. mediocrebob says: Feb 13, 2013 8:36 AM

    I’m not seeing the humor in this story. More weird than anything.

    Woody is a legend. Punching a 20-something year old from another school…that’s a fierce competitor. Can you imagine if a coach pulled that today?

  19. floridacock says: Feb 13, 2013 8:41 AM

    Hayes last game at OSU was the 1978 Gator Bowl when he lost his mind and punched Clemson player Charlie Bauman. Seems to be the legacy THE school alum want to forget

  20. raiderufan says: Feb 13, 2013 11:18 AM

    Woody Hayes allowed a snapping turtle to bite his penis.

    I am so happy that I was able to type that at least once in my lifetime. I didn’t know I needed it but it worked well for me.

  21. seamus0317 says: Feb 13, 2013 11:51 AM

    My guess is urban legend was the one to raise his hand and volunteer to do it to woody!!!

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