Did you know Ohio State University football’s winningest and most legendary coach of all-time doesn’t have a statue in his own hometown?
That was a surprise to Chris Lauderback when he visited the Newcomerstown Historical Society recently.
Lauderback, one of the founders of Eleven Warriors, a fervent group of Ohio State University backers, recently visited with D.J. McFadden, the director of the Newcomerstown Historical Society and Temperance Tavern Museum, and while he was excited to visit the museum that has a room dedicated to native son Woody Hayes, he was incredulous that the town does not have a monument featuring one of college football’s all-time greatest coaches.
“I got a call from Chris, and he was interested in visiting our museum,” McFadden said. “They came down to visit, and they loved the museum and the room dedicated to Woody Hayes. But they were surprised there was no statue of him in his own hometown. They later called me back and said they were interested in creating a monument of Woody and asked me what I thought. Of course I said yes.”
Lauderback quickly took steps to begin to rectify the lack of a monument in Hayes’s honor, and now Eleven Warriors is on a mission to bring Hayes the recognition he deserves.
Eleven Warriors has created a Pay It Forward movement to amass the funds necessary to build a monument at the historical society in Newcomerstown.
After meeting with McFadden, Lauderback connected with nationally renowned sculptor and avid Buckeyes fan Alan Cottrill, whose creations include the Woody Hayes statue outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Lauderback said it became clear that Eleven Warriors needed to leverage its platform to pave the way for a life-size statue of Hayes to grace the grounds of the Newcomerstown Historical Society.
Partnering with Cottrill, who is a huge Buckeyes fan, will keep expenses to a minimum, but the creation, transportation and setup are estimated at $40,000. Lauderback said Eleven Warriors has come through in the past on this kind of project, and he hopes that it will again.
As for the Newcomerstown Historical Society, McFadden said that should the project come to fruition, it will mean a great deal to the museum.
“I was awestruck,” McFadden said when hearing Lauderback’s proposal. “This would be so huge for our museum, so special, and it is something that we could never consider doing on our own. We truly appreciate the effort Eleven Warriors is making on our behalf.”
Newcomerstown was the home of Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes during his formative years. Hayes played center for the Newcomerstown high school football team, serving as captain his senior year while his father Wayne Benton Hayes enjoyed his post as school superintendent for 20 years.
After high school Hayes graduated from Denison University, served in the Navy during World War II and moved on to head coaching positions at both Denison and Miami University before becoming Ohio State’s 19th head coach in 1951.
Hayes’s resume is legendary, and among Buckeye faithful he has always garnered a special spot. He took the Buckeyes to then-unprecedented heights as its head coach, winning 276 games over 28 seasons while capturing five National Championships and 13 Big Ten titles. In that span he helped produce 54 All-Americans, 18 Academic All-Americans and three Heisman Trophy winners.
The Eleven Warriors community has been instrumental in funding a number of worthwhile causes including the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and the ongoing partnership with DownSyndrome Achieves.
If anyone is interested in supporting this cause, they may do so by logging on to www.elevenwarriors.com/woodyhayesstatue, where they may make donations of any amount. There are special donation levels including the $500 level, which puts a donor’s name, family name or business name on the plaque next to the Hayes statue. The $1,000 level includes a donor’s name, family name or business name in a larger font that is a little further up the plaque next to the Hayes statue. The $5,000 level includes a donor’s name, family name or business name in the largest font size near the top of the plaque next to the Hayes statue, and a $10,000 donation will include the donor’s business logo near the top of the plaque next to the Hayes statue.
Published: December 22, 2016