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Friday, July 15, 2011


On March 14, 1986, just less than a year before his death, Woody Hayes delivered the commencement address at Ohio State. These excerpts were published in "Woody Hayes: A Reflection by Paul Hornung."

Try to take that attitude toward life, that you're going to pay forward. So seldom can we pay back because those who helped most--your parents and other people--will be gone, but you'll find that you do want to pay. Emerson had something to say about that: "You can pay back only seldom." But he said, "You can always pay forward, and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent." He said, "Beware of too much good accumulating in your palm or it will fast corrupt." That was Emerson's attitude, and no one put it better than he did.

I'd like to give you a little advice today. I'll try not to give you too much, just a little bit. One thing you cannot afford to do--that's to feel sorry for yourself. That's what leads to drugs, to alcohol, too those things that tear you apart. In football we always said that the other team couldn't beat us. We had to be sure that we didn't beat ourselves. And that's what people have to do, too--make sure they don't beat themselves.

So many times you have fond here at the University people who were smarter than you. I found them all the way through college and in football: bigger, faster, harder. They were smarter people than I. But you know what they couldn't do? They couldn't outwork me. I ran into opposing coaches who had much better backgrounds than I did and knew a lot more about football than I did. But they couldn't work as long as I did. They couldn't stick in there as long as I could. You can outwork anybody. Try it and you'll find out you can do it.

Hard work, tough decisions, teamwork, family values, and paying ahead will help to change this world and make it a better place, And I have no idea but that you have the attitude and the capacity and the ability here to go on and help make this a greater world.

Godspeed in the meantime to all of you. Thank you very much.