50 Woody Hayes Quotes On Success & Winning

These Woody Hayes quotes will inspire you to find success in your life.

Woody Hayes is a legendary, award-winning football player, coach, and veteran.

Born on February 14, 1913, in Clifton, Ohio, Woody showed his interest in football at an early age. In high school, he played center, while at Denison University, he played tackle.

After graduating from Denison, Woody served as an assistant coach at Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia. He was later promoted to the head coach at New Philadelphia, where he set a 17-2-1 record in the first two seasons.

Thereafter, he was enlisted in the navy where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander while serving during World War II.

After serving, he returned to Denison University as a head coach for two years before being recruited by Miami University and then by Ohio State University.

In his overall career as a college football coach, Hayes achieved 238 wins, 72 losses, and 10 ties.

Before his death from a heart attack on March 12, 1987, he was serving as a professor of Military History at Ohio State University.

Whether you’re a football player or just a sports enthusiast, these Woody Hayes quotes will motivate you to pursue greatness. Enjoy!

Woody Hayes quotes for every American football fan

1. “Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.” – Woody Hayes

2. “I don’t motivate the players. I get them to motivate themselves. That’s the only kind of motivation that’s worth a damn.” – Woody Hayes

3. “Without winners, there wouldn’t even be any civilization.” – Woody Hayes

4. “I may not be able to outsmart too many people, but I can outwork ’em.” – Woody Hayes

5. “Paralyze resistance with persistence.” – Woody Hayes

6. “Loyalty is a two-way street, not a blind alley.” – Woody Hayes

7. “There’s nothing in this world that comes easy. There are a lot of people who aren’t going to bother to win. We learn in football to get up and go once more.” – Woody Hayes

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8. “The only thing even in this world is the number of hours in a day. The difference in winning or losing is what you do with those hours.” – Woody Hayes

9. “Any time you give a man something he doesn’t earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.” – Woody Hayes

10. “A good general always makes you search for his weaknesses.” – Woody Hayes

Famous Woody Hayes quotes

11. “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes

12. “Even the best team, without a sound plan, can’t score.” – Woody Hayes

13. “The only meaningful statistic is number of games won.” – Woody Hayes

14. “You can outwork anybody. Try it, you will find out that you can do it.” – Woody Hayes

15. “The great thing about football is that when you get knocked down, you get up and you go again. You don’t lie there and moan and groan and rail against the fates.” – Woody Hayes

16. “I’ve had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven’t run into one yet that can outwork me.” – Woody Hayes

17. “Statistics always remind me of fellow who drowned in a river where the average depth was only three feet.” – Woody Hayes

18. “In football, we always said that the other team couldn’t beat us. We had to be sure that we didn’t beat ourselves. And that’s what people have to do, too – make sure they don’t beat themselves.” – Woody Hayes

19. “I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.” – Woody Hayes

20. “When I look in the mirror in the morning, I want to take a swing at me.” – Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes quotes to help develop a winning mentality

21. “You’ll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face. Never.” – Woody Hayes

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22. “If you show me a good guy that the players love all the time, I will show you a loser.” – Woody Hayes

23. “Feeling cold is psychological.” – Woody Hayes

24. “Football represents and embodies everything that’s great about this country, because the United States of America is built on winners, not losers or people who didn’t bother to play.” – Woody Hayes

25. “Success is the only motivational factor that a boy with character needs.” – Woody Hayes

26. “It’s never an upset if the so-called underdog has all along considered itself the better team.” – Woody Hayes

27. “You can never really payback. You can only pay forward.” – Woody Hayes

28. “Indomitable in victory, insufferable in defeat.” – Woody Hayes

29. “When you’re winning – you don’t need any friends. When you’re losing – you don’t have any friends anyway.” – Woody Hayes

30. “I love football. I think it is the most wonderful game in the world, and I despise to lose.” – Woody Hayes

Powerful Woody Hayes quotes

31. “The minute I think I’m getting mellow, I’m retiring. Who ever heard of a mellow winner?” – Woody Hayes

32. “Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of your aggressions without going to jail for it.” – Woody Hayes

33. “A man is always better than he thinks.” – Woody Hayes

34. “Perfect preparation prevents piss-poor performance.” – Woody Hayes

35. “Because I couldn’t go for three.” – Woody Hayes

36. “I don’t apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there.” – Woody Hayes

37. “The height of human desire is what wins, whether it’s on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium.” – Woody Hayes

38. “Winners are men who have dedicated their whole lives to winning.” – Woody Hayes

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39. “I don’t like nice people. I like tough, honest people.” – Woody Hayes

40. “The most deceptive course in football is straight at the goalposts.” – Woody Hayes

Other inspirational Woody Hayes quotes

41. “Success – it’s what you do with what you’ve got.” – Woody Hayes

42. “To hell with exciting. I’d rather be drab as hell and win.” – Woody Hayes

43. “I will pound you and pound you until you quit.” – Woody Hayes

44. “It does not matter the size of the man, rather the amount of effort the man is willing to put forth” – Woody Hayes

45. “Defeats are the things that make men out of you.” – Woody Hayes

46. I just despise to lose, and that has taken a man of mediocre ability and made a pretty good coach out of him.” – Woody Hayes

47. “You don’t get many chances to pay back what’s been done for you. Take them.” – Woody Hayes

48. “Picking an assistant coach, the first thing I was interested in was the man’s character.” – Woody Hayes

49. “I’m enthusiastic. The day I’m not, I’ll quit. It is one’s own fault if his enthusiasm is gone; he has failed to feed it.” – Woody Hayes

50. The game of football is one of strategy and tactics.” – Woody Hayes

What did you learn from these Woody Hayes quotes?

Apart from being a coach, Hayes was also a professor of physical education at Ohio State University.

These accomplishments made him three times recipient of the prestigious College Football Coach of the Year Award. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1983.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Woody Hayes quotes and sayings? Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. Niagara

    November 30, 2022 at 6:37 PM

    Woody Hayes was a professor of Military History at The Ohio State University and commander of a US Navy destroyer in WWII before he was a football coach. I believe his quote that applies most to today — though many — is #9: “Any time you give a man something he doesn’t earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”

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