Feb. 14, 2013, was not only Valentine's Day, but the 100th birthday of Woody Hayes, Ohio State's legendary football coach, who died in 1987 after leading the Buckeyes to 13 Big Ten titles and three national championships.
To commemorate the event, an eight-foot-tall bronze statue of Hayes, hands on hips, trademark ball cap in place, peering intently at an imaginary playing field, was unveiled in front of OSU's Woody Hayes Athletic Center. A noose-like strap of canvas was attached to the 800-pound statue's neck as it was lowered into place by a crane.
"That would be a real popular look for him in Ann Arbor," the coach's son, Steven, joked to a Columbus Dispatch reporter, as he watched the scene.
By a strange twist of fate, Woody Hayes played a role in my getting a job on the Ohio State campus in 1970, during the coach's heyday. At the end of an interview for a proofreader's slot on an obscure scholarly journal produced by the university's Institute for Slavic Studies, one of the editors asked me what I thought of Woody Hayes.
"Who's Woody Hayes?" I replied, after a long, uncomfortable pause.
"You're hired!" the editor exclaimed.
I soon learned a little about the legendary Hayes, his football program, and the jealousy it produced among some of the more obscure university operations.
More importantly, I learned that nerds need to stick together.