Sussman: The importance of Buckeye heritage at Ohio State
Those of us born in Ohio are filled with Ohio State Football DNA. In 1954 my father took me to my first OSU-Michigan game. The victory completed an undefeated regular season followed by a Rose Bowl victory and the National Championship. I have attended eighteen home Michigan games and three on the road in Ann Arbor. This game is by all measures the greatest rivalry in college Sports.
I thought it would be interesting to review the Ohio State coaches that I saw leading the Buckeyes in this game. Woody Hayes was the first for me. He was born in Newcomerstown, Ohio, where his father was Superintendent of Schools. He played his college football at Denison University where he later coached. He also coached at New Philadelphia high school and Miami University before coming to Ohio State in 1951. Woody bled scarlet and gray and holds a record of 16-11-1 against Michigan.
After Woody, Earl Bruce took over. Earl was born in Cumberland, Maryland, and entered OSU as a football recruit. In his first season he was injured ending his playing career. Woody, his coach, continued his scholarship for the full four years and appointed him to the invented position of student coaching assistant. He was a true believer in the football power at the Horseshoe. Earl completed a record of 5-4 against Michigan.
Next to the parade was John Cooper. Cooper was born in Tennessee. He told the story of being a young child and going to the great stadium in Knoxville. He watched games through a hole in the fence. He played his college ball at Iowa State. He was later a head coach at Tulsa and Arizona State. I do not think he ever changed planes in Columbus, but here he was thrown into the greatest rivalry in college football. His record against Michigan was 2-10-1.
Jim Tressel was next up for the Buckeyes. Jim was from Mentor, Ohio. Jim played for Baldwin Wallace where their game times were changed to not interfere with fans being able to see the Buckeyes games on TV. Jim later coached at Youngstown State for fifteen years and won four National Championships in the FCS division. He was a great success as an Ohio State coach especially with a 9-1 mark against Michigan.
Urban Myer, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati was next in the parade. Urban tells the story of growing up in northeast Ohio and planning the day for the OSU Michigan game. His hometown was literally shutdown on that date. His record against the Wolverines was 7-0.
Our current coach, Ryan Day, grew up in New Hampshire. He played football at The University of New Hampshire. His coaching career included assistant stops at Temple, Boston College, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Francisco 49ers. His record against Michigan is 1-2.
I attended college in Rhode Island. New England has little interest in college football. Ohio State has more fans in the restroom on game days than the University of New Hampshire has in the stands. Draw your own conclusions.
Write Mike Sussman at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Sussman: The importance of Buckeye heritage at Ohio State