Ken Fritz, Ohio State Football guard who restrained Coach Hayes, passes away at 66

The Ohio State football community mourns the passing of former Ohio State All-American offensive guard Ken Fritz.
Minnesota v Ohio State
Minnesota v Ohio State / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Ohio State University community is mourning the loss of former Ohio State football guard, Ken Fritz, who passed away at the age of 66. While Fritz had a notable football career, he is best remembered for a crucial moment during the 1978 Gator Bowl that left a mark on Ohio State's football legacy.

In a tense matchup against Clemson, Coach Woody Hayes became embroiled in a heated altercation with linebacker Charlie Bauman. In the midst of the chaos, Fritz, displaying composure and responsibility, rushed to restrain Coach Hayes.

Fritz's quick and courageous intervention showcased his loyalty to the team and his understanding of the gravity of the situation. Coach Hayes faced severe consequences, leading to his dismissal from the head coaching position. The 1978 Gator Bowl marked the end of Coach Hayes' tenure with the Buckeyes.

As we know, Hayes' firing brought on Earle Bruce as the next head coach. He was much less successful than Hayes and never won a national title, but did go undefeated in the regular season during Fritz's final season with the Buckeyes in 1979. It's tough to follow a legend though.

Fritz was an excellent Ohio State football player though. He was a Consensus All-American in 1979 and has a tree in Buckeye Grove. Fritz was then drafted by the Steelers in the 10th round of the 1980 NFL Draft, although he didn't really play much for them.

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As the Ohio State football community mourns the loss of Ken Fritz, his contributions to the university's athletic legacy and his role in shaping the course of the football program will be remembered with gratitude and reverence. Fritz's impact, both on and off the field, stands as a testament to the character and resilience of a true Buckeye. Rest in peace, Mr. Fritz.