Well, It Was the Height of Disco

By Jason Priestas on November 13, 2008 at 9:00 pm

The Quad has a fascinating interview with Michael Rosenberg, author of the new book War as They Knew It, a look at Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler in the turbulent years of Woody's final decade on the sidelines.

While most books on this topic focus solely on the football rivalry between the two, Rosenberg gathers "quite a bit of social history" in the book as well. Woody's friendship with Nixon is explored as are his visits to Vietnam in support of the war. On Woody's use of war metaphors*:

Woody did make that comparison almost every day of his coaching career. These days, whenever somebody compares football to war, the media erupts –- the basic assumption is that the athlete or coach does not appreciate the gravity of real warfare. But Woody certainly appreciated it. He was a Navy captain and military history buff. He never made the comparison lightly, but he did make it constantly.

The rest of the interview is pretty meaty and definitely worth a read. As for the book -- I haven't read it yet, but will be doing so with a quickness after this tantalizing passage:

Q: If you could have interviewed Woody Hayes, what would you have asked him about?

A: My questions would probably be pretty specific: How much did Nixon’s resignation influence his view on quitting his own job? Did he have any idea one of his quarterbacks was doing cocaine in the huddle? How much did his diabetes influence his temper? Then we would just see where the conversation took us.

Believe me, I wish I had the chance to talk to Woody Hayes. As a sportswriter, I’ve had a chance to cover some unusual people, but Woody Hayes is the most fascinating person I have ever covered, and I never even got to talk to him.

I have a pretty good guess who it might have been blowing down in the huddle, but I'm withholding judgement until I find out myself or someone that has read the book or knows of this story fills us in.

* I've often felt nervous putting out the war photoshops on game day because of this potential for criticism, but vets or current members of the military, please know that we don't in any way think the game of football is anywhere near as serious as something like combat. Oh, and many thanks for your service.