Sally Pont in her book "Fields of Honor" speaks of Woody Hayes diabetic condition.
"Within Hayes's thick bark lurked type 2 diabetes—with which he was diagnosed at the age of fifty in 1963—perhaps the most subtle and misunderstood disease. If unmanaged for several years, it can foster blindness, paraplegia, death. If ignored for only a day, it can decimate consciousness so completely that action is independent of mind, memory, and even morals.
On more than one occasion, Bo Schembechler has pointed to Hayes's diabetes. Bo reported that Hayes sometimes failed to follow the prescribed regimen for type 2 diabetes. Specifically, Hayes did not always take the prescribed oral medication he was supposed to: sulfonylureas, a drug designed to encourage the pancreas to produce more insulin. However, even if he were faithful in taking his medication, it had a pronounced side effect: it often caused hypoglycemia, particularly in those with erratic eating habits.
That fact, accompanied by an understanding of Hayes's lifestyle, which couldn't possibly allow for the dietary and other personal regulations diabetes demands, confirms Schembechler's conclusion: Hayes's blood sugar was "out of whack." Deep in a hypoglycemic haze, a crippled version of Hayes slugged that player without even knowing he did it.
Bo Schembechler rushed to set up a meeting with his friend. He found a midway point between Columbus and Ann Arbor, the Bowling Green house of their old colleague Doyt Perry. When Schembechler first broached the topic of the event, Hayes had no recollection of hitting the Clemson player, Only after watching the film would he fully accept what had happened.
Because pointing to an illness could be perceived as making excuses, at least in 1978, Hayes accepted the university's decision to usher out the old man. That stoicism fits Hayes's character. Moreover, with his endless days, incessant traveling, unpredictable mealtimes, spontaneous nocturnal forays to rush to the aid of athletes, colleagues, former athletes... he scarcely sustained the moderate lifestyle that diabetes demands.
To this day, Ohio State's Web site writes off Hayes's behavior in the Gator Bowl as a "temper tantrum." It's still not okay to admit being sick. It seems to be regarded not as a viable explanation, but as a cheap way out.
Despite his prominence in not only Ohio but also the rest of the country, Woody Hayes kept his home number listed in the local phone book. To have an unlisted number would have, no doubt, struck Hayes as a pretension. He wasn't one to pretend he was someone he was not.
That Hayes kept his diabetes to himself, though, is not an inconsistency, because his toughness had, for so long, canceled out his illness. It is, However, an irony that his only secret is the thing that, in the end, left him most exposed."
So, there you have it, the rest of the story. Most folks never heard that part of the story in 1978 and to this day those outside of Ohio only think of the Gator Bowl incident when they think of Woddy Hayes. Sally Pont's book is an excellent read and really does a good job examining the lives of some the old school coaches who demonstrated great character that came out of the Cradle of Coaches at Miami University.