By Dennis Dillon
Even though he was playing in the game, Joe Bostic missed the infamous Woody Hayes punch in the 1978 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., that led to the firing of the iconic Ohio State coach.
Bostic, a Clemson guard, was on the sideline with the rest of the Tigers’ offense when late in the game Clemson defensive lineman Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass by Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter, essentially sealing a 17-15 Clemson victory.
After Bauman ran out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline, an enraged Hayes came up, grabbed the back of Bauman’s jersey and punched Bauman just below the neck. Penalty flags went flying as Bostic and the Clemson ran on to the field, but Bostic didn’t know what the flags were about.
When the game ended, after midnight, Bostic sprinted off the field to the locker room, where he quickly showered, dressed and departed the stadium before all of his teammates had even left the field. He had a 9 a.m. flight the next morning to Honolulu, where he would start in the Hula Bowl, and he wanted to get back to his hotel room.
At 6 a.m. the next morning, the phone rang in Bostic’s room. It was his mother.
“Woody Hayes got fired,” she said.
“Really? Wow,” said BosticContinue reading