History of OSU Football

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How It All Started

Charles "Chic" Harley

Ohio State's first triple threat (run-pass-kick), he laid the groundwork for what Ohio State football is today.  He was the reason the Horse Shoe was renovated in 1922, and he helped make the OSU-Michigan rivalry the best rivalry in all of sports.


The Horse Shoe is one of the most recognizable venues in North America.  If you've ever sat in a seat at Ohio Stadium, you've been graced by a great history of college football that dates back over 100 years.  The basis for "The Shoe" as its now known, began with the renovation of the stadium that was completed in 1922.  Little known fact:  The Shoe was modeled after the Roman Coliseum.


Michigan Fact:  Although Michigan owns the overall record against Ohio State, one little known fact is:  Since 1950 (which most experts consider the beginning of modern football), Ohio State holds the record for wins over Michigan. 


Ohio Stadium, dedication day in 1922


In the spring of 1890 George Cole, an undergraduate, persuaded Alexander S. Lilley to coach a football team at the Ohio State University. The Buckeyes first game, played on May 3, 1890, at Delaware, Ohio, against Ohio Wesleyan University, was a victory.[2]

Ohio State's first home game was played on November 1, 1890. In Columbus, a historical marker reads:

"In the fall, life for many in Columbus revolves around Ohio State University football, from the first kickoff in September to the last play in November. O.S.U.’s first home game took place at 2:30 p.m. on November 1, 1890. The Ohio State University played the University of Wooster on this site, which was then called Recreation Park. Just east of historic German Village, the park occupied the north side of Schiller (now Whittier) between Ebner and Jaeger in what is now Schumacher Place. The weather was perfect, and the crowd reportedly including a number of women, who cheered loudly. Nonetheless, O.S.U. lost to Wooster, 64-0. Wooster, physically fit for the game, showed O.S.U. that training is critical to winning. The tradition of training continues. Today, on football Saturdays in Ohio Stadium on Woody Hayes Drive, the sound of an O.S.U. game can be heard around the world.”

Over the next eight years, under a number of coaches, the team played to a cumulative record of 31 wins, 39 losses, and 2 ties. The first game against Michigan, in Ann Arbor, was a 34-0 loss in 1897, a year that saw the low point in Buckeye football history with a 1-7-1 record.

In 1899 the university hired John Eckstorm to bring professional coaching skills to the program and immediately went undefeated. In 1901, however, center John Segrist was fatally injured in a game and the continuation of football at Ohio State was in serious question. Although the school's athletic board let the team decide its future, Eckstorm resigned. [3] In 1912 football underwent a number of developments that included joining the Western Conference, making football as part of a new Department of Athletics, and hiring Lynn W. St. John to be athletic director.

Ohio State's team came into national prominence in 1916 with the play of Charles W. "Chic" Harley, its first "triple threat" (runner, passer, and kicker). The Buckeyes had their first undefeated-untied season and nearly repeated in 1917, going 8-0-1. 1919 saw the first Buckeye victory over Michigan. Harley's popularity at Ohio State resulted in the construction of Ohio Stadium, a new, larger facility that opened in 1922.[4] Buckeye fortunes on the gridiron turned sour, however, going 28-21-6 in coach John Wilce's final seven years as head coach. Criticism of Wilce, particularly from "downtown coaches", led him to resign after the 1928 season, and was the first major negative influence of boosters and fans on the football program[5]

 1934-1978 Big-time football

In hiring Francis Schmidt in March 1934 to coach its football team, Ohio State moved its program to a "big-time" level of competition. Schmidt was a well-established coach and an acknowledged offensive innovator. His offensive schemes were a "wide-open" style called "razzle-dazzle" and led him to be the first Buckeye football coach granted a multi-year contract. Schmidt's first four seasons saw victories over archrival Michigan, all by shut-out. The 1935 squad went 7-1, its sole loss was to Notre Dame, 18-13, in the first contest between the programs. However Schmidt's remaining seasons were less successful, except in 1939 when the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship, and his popularity faded for a number of reasons.[6] On December 17, 1940, he resigned.

Ohio State hired the coach of Massillon Washington High School football team, Paul Brown, to succeed Schmidt. Brown's Tigers had just won their sixth straight state championship. Brown immediately changed Ohio State's style of offense, planned and organized his program in great detail, and delegated to his assistant coaches using highly-structured practices. Ohio State lost 22 veteran players to military service at the start of World War II, and with a team of mostly sophomores went on to lose only once in winning its first national championship. Brown accepted a commission in the United States Navy in 1944 and directed his assistant Carroll Widdoes to head the team in his absence. The 1944 team fielded 31 freshmen but went undefeated and untied, including a victory over Paul Brown's Great Lakes Navy team. Ohio State finished second in the national rankings behind Army and Les Horvath became the first Buckeye to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.

Brown chose not to return to Ohio State after the war, going into professional football instead. Widdoes, despite having the highest two-year winning percentage of any Buckeye coach, asked to return to an assistant's position. Paul Bixler, an assistant, replaced Widdoes and endured a mediocre 4-3-2 season. Bixler resigned and talk of Ohio State being a "graveyard of coaches" became commonplace, a reputation that lingered for decades.[7]

Wes Fesler became head coach in 1947 but finished last in the Big Ten for the only time in team history. Ohio State improved greatly in 1948, winning 6 and losing 3, then in 1949 enjoyed a successful season due to the play of sophomore Vic Janowicz. Ohio State received the Rose Bowl invitation, where they came from behind to defeat California. In 1950 Fesler, rumored to be resigning because of pressures associated with the position and abuse of his family by anonymous critics, returned to coach the Buckeyes, who won six games in a row to move into the top ranking in the AP poll. However the season fell apart as the Buckeyes lost to Michigan during a blizzard, a game that came to be known as the "Snow Bowl". Two weeks later, citing concerns about his health and family, Fesler resigned.

 Coach Woody Hayes
Coach Woody Hayes

Wayne Woodrow Hayes beat out Paul Brown, among others, to be named head coach on February 18, 1951. He instituted a demanding practice regimen and was both aggressive and vocal in enforcing it, alienating many players accustomed to Fesler's laid-back style. The 1951 Buckeyes won 4, lost 3, and tied 2, leaving many to question the ability of the new coach. In 1952 the team improved to 6-3, and recorded their first victory over Michigan in eight years, but after a 1953 loss to Michigan, critics called for the replacement of Hayes.

In 1954 the Buckeyes were picked to finish no higher than 5th in the Big Ten. Hayes, however, had the talents of Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, and an historic goal-line stand against Michigan propelled Ohio State to a perfect season. Hayes won his first and the team's second national championship. In 1955 the team again won the Big Ten, set an attendance record, and won in Ann Arbor for the first time in 18 years, while Hopalong Cassady was securing the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State passed only three times against Michigan (the sole reception was the only completion in the final three games of the year), leading to characterization of Hayes' style of offensive play as "three yards and a cloud of dust".

In a 1955 article in Sports Illustrated, Hayes admitted making small personal loans to financially-needy players.[8] The article resulted in a furor over possible violations of NCAA rules, and the faculty council, followed by the Big Ten and NCAA, conducted lengthy investigations. Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth "Tug" Wilson found Hayes and the program guilty of violations and placed it on a year's probation in 1956. In 1957 Ohio State won all of its remaining games after an opening loss to claim the Big Ten championship, win the Rose Bowl over Oregon, and share a national championship with title with Auburn, for which Hayes was named Coach of the Year.

In 1961 the team went undefeated to be named national champions by the FWAA but a growing conflict between academics and athletics over Ohio State's reputation as a "football school" resulted in a faculty council vote to decline an invitation to the Rose Bowl, resulting in much public protest and debate.[9] Over the next 6 seasons Ohio State finished no higher than 2nd, and had a losing season in 1966, and public speculation that Hayes would be replaced as coach grew to its highest point since 1953.

In 1968 Ohio State defeated the number one-ranked Purdue Boilermakers and continued to an undefeated season including a 50-14 rout of Michigan and a Rose Bowl victory over the USC Trojans that resulted in the national championship. The Class of 1970 became known as the "super sophomores" in 1968, and might have gone on to three consecutive national championships except for what may have been the bitterest loss in Buckeye history. The winning streak reached 22 games as Ohio State traveled to Michigan. The Buckeyes were 17-point favorites but directed by first-year coach Bo Schembechler, Michigan shocked the Buckeyes in a 24-12 upset.

The 1969 loss to Michigan initiated what came to be known as "The Ten Year War," in which the rivalry, which pitted some of OSU’s and UM’s strongest teams ever, rose to the uppermost level of all sports and the competition between Schembechler and Hayes became legendary. [10] Four times between 1970 and 1975, Ohio State and Michigan were both ranked in the top five of the AP Poll before their matchup. Hayes had the upper hand during the first part of the war, in which Ohio State won the conference championship and went to the Rose Bowl four straight years, while Michigan won the final three.

Archie Griffin came to Ohio State in 1972, set a new Buckeye single-game rushing record and led the team in rushing for the season. The following season Hayes installed an I-formation attack with Griffin at tailback and the Buckeyes went undefeated with a powerful offense and equally impenetrable defense, the only blemish on their record a 10-10 tie with Michigan. The falloff in success of Hayes' last three years was not great but resulted in growing criticism of Hayes and his methods, particularly his on-the-field fits of temper. His downfall was sudden and shocking when at the 1978 Gator Bowl, Hayes took a swing at a Clemson middle guard in frustration after an interception. Hayes was fired after the game.

"THE" Little known fact:

Many football fans hear former Buckeye alums refer to their school as "The" Ohio State University (using the pronunciacion of "thee").   The truth is simple:  THE Ohio State University is the ONLY college to have registered their name using the word "The" in its proper pronunciacion While other colleges mock the use of this title, it is by no accident that former players of The Ohio State University often show their allegiance to their alma mater in this way. 


Buckeye fans enjoying a game at Ohio Stadium.
Buckeye fans enjoying a game at Ohio Stadium.

Hayes was replaced by a former protegé, Earle Bruce, who inherited a strong team led by sophomore quarterback Art Schlichter and returned to the Rose Bowl with an opportunity once again to be national champions. The Buckeyes lost both by a single point, but Bruce was named Coach of the Year. His success was hailed by those in the media who saw it as a rebuke of Hayes and the start of a "new era".[11]

1980, however, saw the start of a trend that eventually brought criticism to Bruce, when Ohio State finished with a 9-3 record, the first of six consecutive years at 9-3. Though each of these seasons, and the 10-3 season that followed them, culminated in a bowl game, Ohio State did not appear to be any closer to a national championship than during the end of the Hayes era.

In 1986 Bruce received a 3-year contract, the first for the modern program but the team opened with two losses, which had not occurred in over 90 years. The Buckeyes then won 9 in a row before Michigan took a close game. After the season Bruce was offered the position of head coach at the University of Arizona but was persuaded to stay at his alma mater by Athletic Director Rick Bay. Hopes for a standout season in 1987 suffered a serious setback when All-American wide receiver Cris Carter was dropped from the team for signing with an agent. Ohio State lost three conference games in a row going into the Michigan game.

On the Monday of Michigan week, after a weekend of rumors and speculation, Ohio State President Edward Jennings fired Bruce but tried to keep the dismissal secret until after the end of the season. Jennings made his own situation worse by refusing to give a reason for the firing,[12] but the Buckeyes enjoyed an emotional come-from-behind victory over Michigan after the entire team wore headbands bearing the word "EARLE".

John Cooper was hired as head coach with a winning record at both Tulsa and Arizona State University that stood out among his credentials, as did a victory over Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl. Cooper's thirteen years as Buckeye head coach are largely remembered in the litany of negative statistics associated with him: a notorious 2-10-1 record against Michigan, a 3-9 record in bowl games, a 5-year losing streak to Illinois, a 63-14 loss to Penn State, and a 28-24 loss to unranked Michigan State when the Buckeyes were the top-ranked team in the nation and en route to a national championship. However his record also had many positives: back-to-back victories over Notre Dame, two finishes second-ranked in the polls, and three Big Ten championships (albeit shared). Cooper also recruited 15 players who first-round draft picks in the National Football League.[13]

In January 2001, the Ohio State University dismissed Cooper. A loss in the 2000 Outback Bowl was a factor in his subsequent firing, as was negative publicity regarding player behavior before and during the game. Other contributing factors included the record against Michigan (which was actually considered by most people to be the biggest reason for his firing), a reputation of inability to win "big games", the lack of a national championship, the perception of him as an outsider by many alumni, the poor bowl game record, and finally a perceived lack of discipline on the team.

Ohio State quickly sought a replacement for Cooper and after a nationwide search hired Jim Tressel. With 4 NCAA Division I-AA National Championships at Youngstown State Tressel, formerly an assistant coach for Earle Bruce, was an Ohioan who was considered to be appreciative of Buckeye football traditions. Although there were some doubts whether Tressel could repeat his earlier success at the Division 1A level, most fans and alumni met the coaching change with enthusiasm. The day of his hiring, Jim Tressel, speaking to fans and students at a Buckeye basketball game, made a prophetic implication that he would lead the Buckeyes to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor the following November.[14]

Tressel's first season was difficult as the Buckeyes went 7-5, but he made good on his promise, beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. While its fans were optimistic about the chance for success of the 2002 team, most observers were surprised by Ohio State's National Championship.[15][16] Ohio State used strong defense, ball-control play-calling, and field position tactics to win numerous close games, a style of play characterized as "Tresselball",[17] and disparaged by detractors as "the Luckeyes".[18] One of the most notable examples occurred against Purdue on November 9, when quarterback Craig Krenzel threw a 4th down touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins late in the game to win, on a play that has gone down in Buckeye lore as "Holy Buckeye". (Buckeye Commentary - Holy Buckeye)

A dramatic second-straight victory over Michigan propelled them into the BCS National Championship Game at the Fiesta Bowl, where they beat the heavily-favored Miami Hurricanes in two overtimes in what ESPN described as one of the greatest championship games ever.[19][20]

Tressel's success continued with an additional Big Ten championships in 2005 and 2006 (the 2006 title outright) and a record through the 2006 season of 62-14, as the Buckeyes won 19 consecutive games, most by fourteen or more points.

Ohio State's Troy Smith hands off to Antonio Pittman vs the 2006 Longhorns
Ohio State's Troy Smith hands off to Antonio Pittman vs the 2006 Longhorns

In the initial USA Today Coaches' Poll of 2006, Ohio State was ranked the number one team in Division I-A,[21] topped the first BCS rankings of the 2006 season in October, and remained atop all the way through the regular season. On November 18 the Buckeyes defeated the #2 ranked and unbeaten Michigan Wolverines 42-39, the first time in the 103-year history of the rivalry that the teams entered the game ranked first and second. As a result, Ohio State won the Big Ten championship and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. Ohio State also received a perfect score of 1.000 under the BCS formula, the first team ever to do so. Quarterback Troy Smith was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the seventh time a Buckeye has been so honored, to equal the most by a single team in the history of the trophy.

On January 8, 2007, the Buckeyes suffered a 41-14 loss to the Florida Gators in the BCS National Championship game. Dominated in all phases, Ohio State's quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was held to 35 yards passing and sacked 5 times.

Info courtesy of www.wikipedia.org

All-time coaching records

Head Coach

PeriodW-L-T RecordWin %Big10N/Cvs Michigan
Alexander S. Lilley1890-18913-537.5n/a n/a
Frederick B. "Jack" Ryder1892-95/189822-22-250.0n/a n/a
Charles A. Hickey18965-5-1¹50.0n/a n/a
David F. Edwards18971-7-116.7n/a 0-1
John B. Eckstorm1899-190122-4-384.7n/a 0-1-1
Perry Hale1902-190314-5-271.4n/a 0-2
Edwin R. Sweetland1904-190514-7-265.2n/a 0-2
Albert E. Herrnstein1906-190928-10-173.1n/a 0-4
Howard H. Jones19106-1-375.0n/a 0-0-1
Harry Vaughn19115-3-260.0n/a 0-1
John R. Richards19126-366.7  0-1
John W. Wilce1913-192878-33-968.83 4-7
Sam S. Willaman1929-193326-10-569.5  2-3
Francis A. Schmidt1934-194039-16-170.52 4-3
Paul E. Brown1941-194318-8-168.5111-1-1
Carroll C. Widdoes1944-194516-288.91 1-1
Paul O. Bixler19464-3-255.6  0-1
Wesley E. Fesler1947-195021-13-360.81 0-3-1
W.W. "Woody" Hayes1951-1978205–61-1076.11316-11-1
Earle Bruce1979-198781-26-175.54 5-4
John Cooper1988-2000111-43-471.53 2-10-1
James P. Tressel2001-Current62-1481.6315-1


How did Ohio State come up with the colors Scarlet and Gray?

A committee of three students decided on the colors for the university during the 1878 Spring Term. The original colors selected for OSU were orange and black. However, because Princeton had already chosen those colors, the committee decided to change their decision to scarlet and gray. Alice Townshend, one of the members on the committee, reported that the colors did not signify anything. Instead, the committee wanted to choose something that was a nice combination and had not been used by any other college. 

What is the origin of Ohio State's name?

The Ohio State University was named the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College when it was founded in 1870. It was decided at that time by a vote of the Board of Trustees that the college would be in Franklin County and, by another vote, placed on the Neil Farm. The first classes began September 17, 1873 with twenty-five students. The name of the college was changed to The Ohio State University in 1878, just in time for the first commencement on June 19 of that year.

Who wrote Carmen, Ohio, and what does it mean?

Fred Cornell was a four-letter athlete, a member of the OSU Glee Club, an amateur poet, and the composer of the words to Carmen Ohio. There are varying accounts as to when and where he actually wrote the words. It was either in 1902 on a train coming back from a horrible football defeat in Ann Arbor or in 1903 at the request of the Men’s Glee Club. Both stories agree that it was sung publicly for the first time by the Glee Club in 1903. The word "Carmen" means "song or poem" in Latin and Spanish and "Ohio" comes from an Indian word which means "the beautiful river."

How did "Brutus" originate?

Brutus was first displayed at the Homecoming game of October 30, 1965 and was made out of 40 pounds of fiberglass. The original Brutus was one large head, almost completely covering the person inside, and legs. During the 1970s, the "Block O" cheering section chose the person who became Brutus. In 1981, Brutus was redesigned so that the individual underneath could have a chance to use their arms to help the Buckeyes cheer. A few years later, Brutus was altered again so that the design was similar to the one used today.

History of The Oval

The original campus design did not include the Oval or anything similar. However, in 1893 the master plan for the campus proposed a group of buildings around a central open space. The first reference to this space as "the oval" was in 1910. Since then the Oval, approximately 11 acres, has been the scene of a great variety of student, faculty, and alumni activities.

How did Ohio become the Buckeye state?

The folklore that Buckeyes were named for the big brown eyes of the Eastern white-tailed deer appears to be correct, according to Dr. John J. Furlow of the Ohio State University Herbarium.  Why Ohio became the Buckeye State is a little more obscure, according to Dr. Furlow.  One supposition is that Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, who held the first court of justice in the Northwest Territory at Marietta in 1788 had the nickname of "Big Buckeye" and the name and association with the area grew from there.  Another supposition is that Ohioan WiIliam Henry Harrison used Buckeyes as his presidential campaign symbol in 1840, leading to the Buckeye's association with his state of residence.  If that is so, thank heavens we did not become the Tippecanoe State!   At any rate, the Buckeye tree became an unofficial state symbol through the 1800s and the early 1900s, but not the official state tree until 1953.

How did Buckeye helmet stickers originate?

Although historical details are sketchy, the first team to use merit stickers appears to have been Ohio State, whose head coach Woody Hayes came up with the idea in 1968. Over three decades later, the team's round stickers, which depict a buckeye tree leaf (not, as is commonly misstated, a buckeye itself, which is a nut, not a leaf), are probably the best-known helmet appliqués, with Florida State's tomahawk stickers a close second.


How the Mirror Lake jump came to be

By: Josh Thompson and John Snodgrass

Young men carry a canoe to the lake's edge, dump the boat in, and start paddling it around - but there is no race. A group of students undo their trench coats and jump into the lake - naked. Yet another group launches themselves, and a shopping cart into the shallow waters. A solitary student dressed as Winnie the Pooh stands wading in the waters, watching the students that have turned the back of Browning Amphitheatre into a mud slide.

The date is Nov. 18, 2004, the location Mirror Lake, and it is the Thursday night before the Ohio State-Michigan football game.

"I'm here with 10 of my buddies and I don't know where any are. With the mud pit and the rain, I've never seen anything like it before. It's insanity," said Matt Pappas, a senior in human ecology at the time. "This is why people come to Ohio State - for traditions like this. It's great."

Students have congregated at Mirror Lake for several years before the Michigan game, and many jump in. Few know why they do it, and there are as many stories and myths that surround the Mirror Lake jump as there are people who do it. Some myths stem from ghost stories surrounding legendary OSU football coach Woody Hayes while others claim that students must jump into the lake naked in order for the jump to be official.

The true origins of the Mirror Lake jump are much less mythical and radically more dressed.

In his 1984 report "The OSU Mirror Lake Hollow," John H. Herrick, then executive director emeritus of campus planning, recorded that students had been entering the waters of Mirror Lake as far back as 1902 or 1903. These students were predominantly freshmen who were being thrown in by upperclassmen.

Herrick also documents that the first recorded item to be dumped into Mirror Lake was a horticultural wagon in 1895. The stunt was a Halloween prank.

Although these events have no direct relation to today's modern Michigan week celebration, they do set the tone for the way in which the OSU student body and university's faculty felt toward lake jumps.

Throughout the early part of the last century the student body and the university administration were often at odds.

During this period, "May Festival," later called "May Week," acted as the university's biggest showcase of school pride - much like "Beat Michigan Week" does now - and students saw it as a time to prove class dominance, with upperclassmen often dunking or "ducking" freshmen in the lake, often a part of a group initiation. This did not go over well with the school's administration or with the university's freshmen classes.

According to a May 5, 1926 Lantern article, freshmen became fed up with their unfair treatment and lashed out against upperclassmen. Both the Lantern article and Herrick's report state that the annual freshman "Cap Burning" ceremony, which took place in the Mirror Lake Hollow, turned into a riotous atmosphere when members of the upperclassmen group Bucket & Dipper attempted to postpone the event.

During the altercation, 103 freshmen were thrown into Mirror Lake. One sophomore received a concussion from a police officer, and water was poured into the gas tank of a police officer's motorcycle. The following spring George Rightmire, OSU's president at the time, banned all further hazing by Bucket & Dipper. The ban did not last long as Bucket & Dipper, as well as several other university and greek groups, resumed "ducking" students in Mirror Lake.

The tradition of dunking students in Mirror Lake lasted until the tail end of the 1960s but had dwindled considerably compared to what it was 40 years prior, according to Herrick's report.

In the 1950s both May Week and the week of the Michigan game began to take on similar traditions - traditions that would eventually lead to the Mirror Lake jump.

A 1950 Lantern article states that then football coach Wesley Fesler was upset by the lack of spirit among OSU students and asked students to attend a final pep rally before the Michigan game. There was a torchlight parade led by the marching band throughout the campus area in order to bring the students to the rally.

A 1953 Lantern article states that the May Week "kick-off" rally took place in Mirror Lake Hollow and was preceded by a march through the University District, led by none other than the band.

As May Week took on less meaning and "Beat Michigan Week" took on more, the tradition of the band leading students to a rally became a niché in "Beat Michigan" culture.

In an interview last year, Jon Woods, director of the OSU marching band, said he remembers that the tradition was still going strong when he arrived in the mid-1970s.

"The night before the Michigan game, there was always a university bonfire. It was almost like a pep rally," Woods said. "The bonfire was generally in different places, sometimes on the Oval or other times near the French Field House. Sometimes before the fire, the band would split up and some would go to the south side of campus and others would go to the north and play the pied piper role and lead students to the fire. There was a tremendous turnout for these things."

Despite the large turnouts, the parade and pep rally ceased to continue in the early '80s. Some band members wanted to continue the tradition, and this is when the unauthorized "phantom band" started, Woods said.

The phantom band resumed playing in 1984, and that year the tradition ended with dancing and singing in the middle of High Street, according to files in Ohio State's Center for Folklore Studies

A 1989 Lantern editorial states that before the 1989 Michigan game, the vice provost of student affairs, Russell J. Spillman announced that all organized events related to Michigan week that year, except for the blood drive, had been canceled because the football game was scheduled during Thanksgiving weekend and most students would be away from campus. The phantom band decided to go through with their march, but the parade turned ugly and resulted in at least one overturned car.

In 1990, members of the marching band agreed not to participate in the phantom band because most of the blame for the problems of the year before fell on them, Woods said.

According to a Nov. 21, 1990 Lantern article, some band members resisted the agreement and decided to lead the phantom band again. The parade ended with a rally outside of Pomerene Hall near Mirror Lake. Reports within the folklore archives describe students jumping in Mirror Lake in 1991 and refer to 1990 as the earliest year it occurred.

In the Lantern article, Brooke Roesle, a freshman at the time, said that Woods showed up at the rally and began yelling at the band members. Everyone ran away from the scene and some students decided to jump into Mirror Lake, she said.

Mike Boone, a 1994 OSU graduate, who currently lives in South Carolina, was a freshman in 1990 and participated in the infamous phantom band parade and remembers the event a little bit differently.

"I wasn't real aware of the tradition. My roommates informed me about it," Boone said.

Back then the day was not set in stone - it either happened on a Wednesday or a Thursday, he said.

Roughly 10 members of the OSU marching band, dressed in OSU spirit wear, showed up outside Taylor Tower and began playing music, he said. The band gathered students from north campus and proceeded to lead them toward the Oval. The band would play fight songs and students would sing along if they knew the words. Between songs students would vocalize their distaste for "the team up north" by singing and chanting, Boone said.

As the students walked they would throw toilet paper in trees and on other overhangs marking their path.

"(The toilet paper) would last a couple of weeks," Boone said.

When Boone and his group got to the east end of the Oval they met up with the south campus band. Boone said he cannot remember whether there was a band coming from west campus. From there the parade went to Mirror Lake and the band stood around the lake while about 20-30 students jumped in fully clothed, Boone said.

Boone himself did not jump into the lake that year.

"I had one nice pair of shoes and I was wearing them," he said. "I wasn't going to trash them."

Boone does not recall Woods showing up at the event.

The phantom band returned in 1991 and once again led the students of OSU to Mirror Lake and a dip in its waters. This caused the university to take action. In Boone's junior year the university backed a parade that was lead by the OSU Marching Band and ended in front of Ohio Stadium, Boone said.

This did not deter him and his friends from jumping into the lake, however.

"(The lake is) a nice place to cap it off," he said.

"I can't remember if the band played my senior year," Boone said.

It did not matter. He and his friends jumped anyway.

As the decade continued, the band took a back seat to the Mirror Lake jump.

Today students jump in larger numbers than ever before. Dan Bozich, a senior during last year's jump, said it best.

"This is what happens when classes drive you crazy."

Copyright 2005 The Ohio State Lantern


How did "Hang on Sloopy" become an Ohio State tradition?

"Hang on Sloopy" is a hit song by the pop group The McCoys which was #1 in America in October 1965 and is the official rock song of the U.S. state of Ohio. It was written by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell and is named for Dorothy Sloop, a singer born in Steubenville, Ohio on September 26, 1913 who used the name "Sloopy" on stage. She died July 1998 in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

The song was originally titled "My Girl Sloopy" and was first recorded by The Vibrations in 1964 on Atlantic Records (45-2222), becoming a top thirty hit. It has also been recorded by Arseno Rodriguez (Bang 1966), The Supremes (Motown 1966), The Kingsmen (WAND 1966), Little Caesar and the Consuls, The Yardbirds, and Saving Jane


In 1965, The Strangeloves, a rock band who purported to be from Australia, decided to make the song the follow-up to their hit single "I Want Candy", and began performing the song in concert. However, the Dave Clark Five, who they were touring with, told the Strangeloves that they were going to record their own version of the song, copying the Strangeloves' arrangement. The Strangeloves realized that the Dave Clark Five's version would probably outsell their own, but they were still enjoying success with "I Want Candy" and did not want to release a new single yet. So the trio—who were, in reality, three successful writer/producers from Brooklyn, New York--recruited a group from Dayton, Ohio, Rick and the Raiders, to record the song instead. The group's name was changed to The McCoys (to avoid confusion with another popular band of the era, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and their 16-year-old leader, Rick Zehringer, became known as Rick Derringer. The group added vocals and a guitar solo to the already-completed Strangeloves backing track, and the single was released on Bang Records. It entered the chart on August 14, 1965, effectively beating the Dave Clark Five to the charts. The single went on to hit number one on October 2.

The song gained an association with the Ohio State University after its marching band began playing it at football games; it first played it October 9, 1965 after a band member, John Tatgenhorst, begged the director to try playing it. After finally convincing the director, Tatgenhorst arranged the song and the band played. After the crowd reaction, the band began to play it at every game and now it is a Saturday tradition to play the song before the start of the fourth quarter of every Buckeye game. Since then, the song has become an unofficial fight song for the university, with it appearing on the band's CDs and as a free download on its website.

The song has also become a feature at all Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns home games where, like at Ohio State, it is traditionally played before the forth quarter. Fans usually chant the letters "O, H, I, O" during the pauses in the chorus while mimicking the shape of the letters with their arms, similar to the dance for the song "YMCA" by The Village People. It is also sometimes done at home games of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The "O, H, I, O" chant was incorporated into a version of the song recorded by the Columbus, Ohio based rock band Saving Jane.


The basic riff of the song became a staple of garage bands during the 1960s, being used on such songs as The Weeds' "It's Your Time" and Kit and the Outlaws' "Don't Tread on Me". A 1973 cover version by Ramsey Lewis won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1974. A parody named "Hang on Snoopy" was included on Swiss rock group Patent Ochsner's 1994 album Gmües. All-girl Japanese punk band Lolita No. 18 covered the song, which is a testament to its far-reaching influences. The song was also covered by the German punk-rock band Die Toten Hosen as b-side for their 2000 single "Bayern". Also in 2000, Aaron Carter recorded his version, included as a bonus track on his second album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It). In 2006, the rock group Saving Jane recorded the song as part of Ohio State's run to capture the NCAA Football Championship. Also, there is a character in the novel The Wanderers by Richard Price named "Hang On Sloopy".

Ohio state rock song

In April 1985, a columnist for the Columbus Citizen-Journal, Joe Dirck, saw a wire service story about a proposal to designate "Louie, Louie" the state rock song of Washington and wrote a column about it. This goaded the 116th Ohio General Assembly into action and it designated "Hang on Sloopy" the state rock song by House Concurrent Resolution 16 on November 20, 1985. The resolution referenced the lyrical content of the song, noted its importance to the state and jokingly hinted that there is no reason not to vote yea, with clauses including

"WHEREAS, "Hang On Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the Baby Boom Generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously"


"WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the state anything, or affect the quality of life in this state to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff".

Almost as recognizable as the Buckeye's mascot, Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes who coached Ohio State from 1951 - 1978 is the marker against which ALL other Buckeye coaches are measured.  Although questioned and criticized through-out his career, his passion, determination, and discipline were never in doubt.  Little known fact:  As well as being the head coach at Ohio State, Hayes also taught History at The Ohio State University.