In 1978, the Ohio State Buckeyes faced the Clemson Tigers at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Clemson won the contest, 17-15, however the game will forever be remembered for “The Punch.”
Late in the contest Clemson’s Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass and was eventually run out of bounds on the Ohio State sidelines. After he stood up, Bauman was punched in the throat by Buckeyes head coach Woody Hayes.
Immediate fallout was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, brawl between the two teams, and an eventual Ohio State defeat. The long-term ramification of the punch was Hayes’ immediate firing. After 28 years coaching the Ohio State Buckeyes, Hayes was dismissed the day after his ill-fated decision.
On Wednesday, Clemson Tigers reporter Greg Wallace doled out an interesting nugget of knowledge: Hayes was given boxing gloves prior to the 1978 Gator Bowl.
Most ironic part? At a pregame press conference, Gator Bowl organizers gave Woody Hayes a pair of big boxing gloves as a gift.
— Greg Wallace (@gc_wallace) December 11, 2013
It’s both an odd and fascinating look back on history. The downfall of one of the game’s great coaches was very ironic.
Below is footage of the punch and Hayes’ final moments as a college football coach.