Harold Enarson, 87; Ohio State President Fired Woody Hayes

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Harold Enarson, 87, the former Ohio State president who fired Woody Hayes after the volatile football coach slugged an opposing player in a 1978 bowl game, died Friday in Port Townsend, Wash.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch said Enarson had been suffering from normal-pressure hydrocephalus, a neurological condition brought on by an accumulation of spinal fluid on the brain.

Enarson was Ohio State’s president from September 1972 until September 1981. During his tenure, the university increased its enrollment as well as its hiring of women and minorities.

With less than two minutes to play in the Buckeyes’ Gator Bowl loss against Clemson on Dec. 29, 1978, Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass thrown by Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. Bauman ran out of bounds at the Ohio State bench. When Bauman got up after being tackled, Hayes hit him and had to be pulled away by Buckeyes players.


Enarson and then-Ohio State Athletic Director Hugh Hindman decided that Hayes would be relieved of his duties. Hayes, who had much success in 28 years coaching there, refused to apologize for his behavior, and was given no opportunity to resign rather than being fired, Enarson said.

Growing up poor in New Mexico during the Depression, Enarson enlisted in the Army right after Pearl Harbor, graduated from and worked for the University of New Mexico and also helped expand and revive Cleveland State University in seven years as the fledgling school’s president.