CLEMSON - There were no hard feelings for "The Punch Heard 'Round the World" - at least not from the Clemson faction.
2014 Discover Orange Bowl
Who: No. 12 Clemson vs. No. 7 Ohio State
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
When: Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.
Records: Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC); Ohio State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten)
Last year's result: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10
Seven months after the 1978 Gator Bowl, which has become infamous for Ohio State coach Woody Hayes slugging Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman on the OSU sideline after making a game-sealing interception, Hayes was the guest speaker at the annual S.C. high school coaches association clinic in Columbia.
The five-time national champion was welcomed by a packed hotel ballroom.
"The biggest crowd they'd ever had of coaches," Hayes' Gator Bowl counterpart, Danny Ford, recalled. "The coaches came out with beards and moustaches, and he chewed every one of them out."
At the same time, Ford felt badly that Hayes had to be fired for his transgression.
"He was a good man," Ford said this week. "Sorry it happened against us, and all of that."
Funny thing is, Ford never even realized what happened until the wee hours that night.
"I was amazed at Charlie Bauman's composure. I don't remember him saying anything about the opponent, because we were celebrating the win," Ford said. "That was the most impressive thing about that."
About 2 a.m. after Clemson's 17-15 victory, Ford was hungry. He hadn't had anything to eat because he was nervous the whole day about his first head coaching opportunity, since Charley Pell had resigned at the end of the regular season.
So Ford and his wife, Deborah, left the Treasure Island Inn, walked down the beach and got a meatball sandwich. They returned to the hotel lobby, finding a bunch of reporters waiting for his comment since they'd finally found out about Hayes' punch.
As for Bauman, he's long since taken great lengths to disassociate himself from the fiasco.
"Charlie went through a lot of stuff," Ford said. "He doesn't want anything to do with it."
Ford remembers that Bauman changed his name to his wife's last name "for a while, because he didn't want to be known, I guess, as the one who was involved in that game like that."
Bauman has declined all media requests for interviews this week, and has rarely spoken on the topic in the past.
It wasn't like anybody at Clemson wanted Hayes' exit to be the lasting memory from a night that launched Ford's coaching career, which included the program's only national championship three years later.
"We certainly didn't want to see a legend like that go out," Ford said, "we certainly didn't want to see Clemson remembered for Hayes being let go after that ball game. Just that Clemson beat a good Ohio State team with coach Hayes as the coach. That would have been the proper way to go about it."
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