Woody is home.
Over a year after Eleven Warriors teamed up with the Newcomerstown Historical Society to bring a statue of the legendary Ohio State coach to his hometown, thousands descended on to Lee Stadium for a dedication ceremony and the unveiling of the statue.
On hand were Woody's son, retired judge Steve Hayes, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, Ohio State and Philadelphia Eagles great Ike Kelley, former Buckeye captain and mayor of Columbus Greg Lashutka, and dozens of former players who shared stories of playing for Woody.
The statue, created by renowned sculptor Alan Cottrill, met the roar of the crowd following speeches by Hayes, Griffin, Eleven Warriors' Chris Lauderback, Newcomerstown Mayor Pat Cradle, and others.
“People ask me if I'm an only child,” Hayes said during the ceremony. “My answer is no I am not. My father had thousands of sons.”
“Those seeking to understand Woody's true legacy would be well-served to talk to those who played for him and were shaped by his influence,” Griffin said. “Speaking for some of his former players, I must say what stands out so many years later is how much he truly cared for us and what he tried to teach us about this world we live in.”
"It was truly an honor and privilege to be a part of the effort to deliver a statue of a great patriot and coach, Woody Hayes, to the wonderful people of Newcomerstown and I’m so thankful the Hayes family and Archie Griffin were able to join in the celebration," offered Chris Lauderback, Executive Editor of Eleven Warriors.
Dozens of donors, including Kirk Herbstreit, helped make the statue a reality.
“It was a special day, but it wasn't about us. It was about the city of Newcomerstown and the Hayes family,” Jason Priestas, Publisher of Eleven Warriors said.