This is part two in my series on who we should honor next in the retire or not to retire saga at THE Ohio State University. Last week I covered the basketball greats here. This week I am going to take a stab at football and really, for all intents and purposes, this should be called #Who2TheHorseshoeRafters. This can be done in a lot of ways but the “ring of Honor” has already started with the Heisman Trophy winners: Horvath, Janowicz, Hop Cassidy, Archie Griffin, Eddie George, along with Bill Willis’ #99 and Chic Harley’s #47. We have to assume that Troy Smith’s #10 will be there soon, so this will give us a look at the rest of the candidates.
Lets begin with one of the most coveted awards outside of the Heisman Trophy. The Lombardi Award is awarded annually to the best lineman or linebacker. It has gone to Ohio State six times, with one of them winning it twice with Orlando Pace, at one time considered a no brainer for jersey retirement. Jim Stillwagon won the first ever in 1970.
The Buckeye Brass had to answer Buckeye Nation. With #Hop2TheRafters rolling right along and creating a stir in Columbus, the athletic department had to put our information that will make everybody happy. Thanks to all who participated, tweeted, and Facebooked about it. Thanks to the man who it was all about for graciously allowing us to bring attention he didn’t want. Truth is, Dennis Hopson has always wanted all of the greats from Ohio State history to be honored in the rafters. If we were successful getting his jersey retired, he promised his mission would be to get the rest of the deserving retired as well.
This brings us to quite a difficult place in the decision-making that will go behind who is chosen for the rafters. There have been several members that have expressed an interest to be on a selection committee with THE Ohio State University. If allowed, they would help discuss a great format that allows special players their spot in the rafters, or in an Ohio Stadium “Ring of Honor” for football. This is the first of a two-part series where I take a look at some of the “lists” they could draw from.
At the very least, I completely disagree with doing away with retiring jerseys as a whole, as Gene Smith said. One very important reason to continue is that the National POY’s deserve the honor and there’s always the fact that a current player can ask the retired player if he can wear his jersey (re: Katzenmoyer and Griffin even though the 45 wasn’t technically retired). This may be the format moving forward as it is anyway. Truth is there are only 36 numbers in basketball because of numbering rules and NO duplicate numbers as in football, but how many National POY’s will Ohio State eventually have?
Progress in a promise.
It all began on January 16th when I started an online petition at Change.org to get Ohio State to retire the number of their leading scorer in men’s basketball, Dennis Hopson. I honestly didn’t realize what we would be up against or what exactly we were going to do. I had a plan to hit twitter hard and round-up as many people I knew would know who “Hop” was and help accomplish our mission. I had NO trouble in that department.
There are many people far and wide who know who he his and what he achieved at THE Ohio State University but there even more who needed reminded. It seemed, though, as if the University itself needed to be reminded of the man who has held the all time scoring record for an astonishing 25 years. That, to go along with the single season scoring mark that may never be broken and his perch atop the steals ladder until one of his best friends, Jay Burson, broke it. And let’s not forget the first triple/double in history at tOSU.
Our journey began with the petition and continued with getting T-shirts on the Buckeye Nuthouse for the recent Illinois game. Fund raising at an amazing pace on Monday when it was realized we wouldn’t have enough funding to purchase said T’s. Several twitter friends who every time they tweeted you saw them use Jeremy Birmingham’s hashtag #Hop2TheRafters. After the Illinois game and the Nuthouse wearing the T’s Tuesday, we saw our best efforts being rewarded with numerous new signatures on the petition. Prominent radio and TV and even newspaper from Columbus was talking about it and finally giving it the publicity it deserved.