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Favorite experience with a Player/Staff Member


Ok I said I would start it so here it goes. I do have more than one that I rahter enjoy but maybe at a later date I will get into them. Here is probably my favorite.

I was living in Baker Hall, on South campus, which is around 4 levels high. While talking of the phone with my aunt in the stair well of the ground floor, I hear a knock on the door. I look out the window and notice a rather large young man looking through the window. I open the door to let in whom I have figured out is a young Mr. Katzenmoyer. He gives me a little head nod to thank me and then proceeds into the building, up a few steps and towards the hall. He walks to the end of the hallway and then proceeds to say
"I wonder how you get to the third floor from here?"
I was astonished by this because as I mentioned before he came in through the stairwell. I guess the first set of steps he hiked were enough because he found the elevator very quickly from there. I guess nobody ever did say he was a Rhodes Scholar.
So that is one of my tales of yore please share any more if you like.
I too have had many experiences with players and staff members of Ohio State but the most recent one that i can relate to you is one that happened back in 2001 of December. I live here in Jacksonville Florida which is only about three and a half hours drive from the Tampa area. I knew Ohio State was preparing for the Outback Steak Bowl at the practice facility of South Florida campus. It was a warm sunny day so i decided to go down to watch the team work out. My directions were not the best but I knew i was close by as i noticed many football players on a practice field. As i got closer and closer i then noticed they were only young high school players and found they were the Florida high all-stars going thru drills for some kind of different game with another team.

I was all decked out in my Rex Kern #10 Buckeye Jersey and Woody Hayes cap and was about ready to leave the area and venture on when i heard someone say to me "Your not the real Rex Kern are you"? I turned around to see who it was and lo and behold it was Dick Tressel the Assistant Director of Football. I shook his hand and told him who I was and that I was lost looking for the OSU practice facility. He said he was just over in this area looking at some young high school players who were thinking of committing to Ohio State and wanted to get a good look see at them.

Dick then said for me to follow him and the Florida State trooper who was his escort, back to another area where the Buckeyes were practicing. We walked in thru the gates and there they were the whole team and coaching staff walking out of a building over to the practice field and the rest is history as I mingled with all the players and talked to most of the coaches and staff. I took my cam-corder along and Bob Tucker gave me permission to record some players and coaches only for the 1st twenty minutes and then I had to put it away. But that sure was exciting and made my day to be right there with everyone having a chance to talk with everyone in such a casual and easy-going manner. It was just absolutely a great feeling that I will never forget. And it feels good just to pop in the tape and go back in time to see and feel that moment again and again.
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Where do I start...

I have met and talked with Coach Tressel at several events... he is nice, however very political, lets just say he isn't going to trip over his words... have close family friends that live two doors down from his old house (he just moved this summer to north Arlington, from south Arlington), we would see him every now and then there as well.

Had the pleasure of talking with Rick Boyages (sp) the assistant head coach for the B-ball team... what a guy!! he was telling us (my dad and I) stories for litterally an hour and a half, as we enjoyed a few "pops" with him after a funtion where he was a guest speakers (everybody else left him alone, so dad and I went over to him and talked about OSU, the team, Columbus, William and Mary, several stories, talked about former OSU coaches dad is still friends with... etc.)... what a great guy, he is a trip, and fun to be around... sometimes tough to understand what he is saying through his thick boston accent.

Have met Coach Bob Knight several times... he is close friends with one of my fathers buddies, so the two of them talked about times while he was at OSU... very friendly, even as he was surrounded for autographs every time I have met/talked to him... genuine guy, that the media paints in a very mean way... he is a good guy!

See Coach Cooper almost every Sunday for Brunch... the spring befor his first season started, I ran into him at the airport (I was a kid at the time), sat in his lap, and had my picture taken with him... dad talked to him for a while, and said "he doesn't get it... why we (OSU) hired him I don't know"... after that conversation, dad wasn't a fan of Coop.... very humble and nice guy, just didn't get OSU tradition's....

Lydell Ross had a thing for my sister... she is friends with some of the guys on the team, and has been to several parties with many of the players... she refused to date any college player, so nothing happened, however we tease her everytime Lydell carries the ball...

My brother was at a party with the Big Kat... the guy that lived in the house where the party was being held, went to my brother and started a tussel... my brother is quick lipped and mouthed off to the guy, so he sent the Big Kat to take care of my brother... Andy Kat. came over looked at my brother, laughed, and asked him what was going on... my brother ripped the kid who sent Andy Kat. over, Andy laughed, said the kid was a punk, and my brother and Andy Kat. drank all night joked around etc...
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The story of the Woody Hayes baseball hat.

I grew up in a Buckeye household in NE Ohio. My parents were graduates of tOSU, one of my grandfathers graduated from tOSU. My other grandfather, who lived in Columbus, was a good friend of Woody. I grew up listening to the Bucks on the radio, and back then, when they were on TV, watching them. My room was scarlet and gray, all my clothes were scarlet and gray, and I knew at age 9 that I was going to go to tOSU but they wouldn't let me apply until I was 17. When Woody's book "You Win With People" came out, Woody had a book signing at Lazarus in downtown Columbus. I was 11 at the time. My grandfather arranged a private signing of my book with Woody just prior to the official book signing time. Me, not being the shy one, asked Woody if I could have one of his baseball hats he always wore. Woody said he did not have one with him, but would see what he could do. Well, nothing came of it and I had forgotten about it for awhile when in 1972? my dad took me to the tOSU vs scUM game at the Shoe. We were staying with my grandparents in Columbus for the weekend. We went to the game and returned to my grandparents house after a great tOSU victory courtesy of several immortal defensive goal line stands in the closed end of the Shoe. Later that evening, my grandfather returned home after having dinner at the Jai Lai (sp) restaurant with Woody. Woody had given him a game worn hat to give to me. I will never forget how impressed I was that Woody remembered me asking for his hat - and he delivered.

I still have that hat. I keep it in a special acrylic case in my office. Stupid me though, I wore the hat through college in the late 70's and up until when Woody died. It has seen many tOSU games. The hat has been through snow, rain and sun and looks a little shrunken now - but it is one of my most prized possessions and the symbol of a great man and one experience I will never forget.
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I hade a great conversation with one Rob Murphy after he was done with school and the Bengals. He started working in a local adult dancing establishment in the Cincy area and was the bouncer there. Let me say that the first time I noticed him he put a guy down in about 10 sec. and 4 head butts. But anyways he seemed to be a pretty good guy and told me some stories of when he, Andy, and Boston lived together. I guess the 3 of them have some home movies that could be used as blackmail. He also regaled me of what happened with Andy's DUI.
It turns out that the 3 of them were out and he and Boston were very bad off so that is why Andy was driving. BTW I know the cop that pulled them over and he told me everything was fine until Columbus City showed up.
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My wife ran into Vince Workman at the airport in Green Bay a few years ago.... he was a coach at the time for the Packers. They were both leaving on the same flight. They were ready to board when she noticed a guy standing off to the side wearing an OSU hat and carrying an OSU bag. We run into Packer players all the time here so she figured he was a player that went to OSU. She approched him with the line.... "did you play for Ohio State?". They for a talked for a little while and she said he thought it was cool that someone from up here reconized him from OSU instead of the Packers (of course she never would have if it weren't for what he was wearing!).

I've met Na'il Diggs a few times here as well. After one of the practices for last years training camp he was on his way to the locker room and I yelled out "Hey Na'il, Go Bucks!" He turned around and saw I was wear my block O hat and laughed and said " yeah, nice hat". We talked for a few seconds and that was about it.
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I met former Buckeye hoops player Jerry Francis at a college all-star game in Ft. Wayne, Indiana back in '89. The teams were comprised of players from the bigger conferences (Big 10, ACC, SEC, etc) and Jerry was one of the Big 10 reps.

There was an autograph session setup after the game. Most of the players were unfriendly and acted like it was a major inconvenience (IU's Jay Edwards in particular) but Jerry was more than happy to interact with the fans.

The only things I remember saying to him was, "Hi Jerry. You are huge! Go Bucks!"
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During my second year at tOSU, I lived with a member of the wrestling team and five other guys in a big house on Summit. At most of our parties or friends' parties, various athletes were there through the wrestler's chain of friends. The wrestlers themselves were absolute animals...Mitch Clark and Nick (?) Nutter were two of the most insane fools I have ever been around...and Clark always brought a posses of gorgeous girls too. However, the best experience I had was talking to Na'il Diggs for what had to be close to an hour about various traditions, players, and perks of being a Buckeye Football Player. I was slamming keg beers and babbling, but he was easy going and answered everything I inquired. Another great time was watching some drunken 130 pounder challenge Matt Keller to step outside after his girlfriend flirted with the fullback. Matt just smiledand politely declined before actually apologizing for talking to the girl. Classy move, but in all honesty, I was hoping to see the pipsqueak get smeared all over the pavement.
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When I went to OSU in the 90's I played a lot of basketball at the South Campus rec center.

Once I had to guard Steve Tovar, he knocked me around a bit. Was a really nice guy though.

Played against Kirk Herbstreit's Intramural basketball team. Lost the game badly.

Had to guard Treg Lee during a pickup game. Got dunked on. :frown2:
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I met Tressel and Archie last spring at a funtion and got a picture taken with them. I've also briefly spoken with Doss, Wilhelm, Vance, Anderson, Krenzel, and Hartsock. Talked to Jenkins for several minutes and became an even bigger fan of his than I already was. He is very humble and down to earth, just an all around great guy.

I've also met a couple of the Middletown greats. Chris Carter was in town at a shopping mall signing autographs. I'm not sure what year, but do know it was the year follwoing the game they played in Chicago where the fog was so bad you could barely see the game on the TV. I'm pretty sure it was a playoff game. I was probably only eight or nine at the time so that was really cool.

I worked out with Jeff Cothran a couple times. I believe it was the summer before he got cut by the Bengals. I thought it may have been him but wasn't sure. I hadn't seen the guy in the gym before and he had this huge tiger head tatoo on the side of his leg. He was benching, I was working out next to him, so he asked for a spot. We got to talking then my suspicions were confirmmed. He was a lot bigger than I thought and not nearly in the condition I thought he would have been in a month out from training camp. I think he was weighting around 275 at the time. It's a shame he had his legal problems. I don't know if that's what drove him out of the league but I was always of the opinion that he was a very servicable FB in the NFL.
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When I met Woody

When I was a kid I went to summer camp for two weeks one year. I think I was about 11 or 12. Anyhow, as part of the summer camp experience we got to take a tour of the campus of Ohio State University. We were being driven around in a van by the tour guide. Suddenly the van came to a stop on Neil Ave. The driver turned around to us kids and said "Look there's Woody Hayes" and pointed towards the walk in front of Oxley Hall. We all looked and there indeed was the man himself. The driver told us we should all get out of the van and go up and greet him, which we did as a thunderous herd of 12 kids. Woody smiled and laughed while shaking all our hands and asking our names. He then proceeded to talk to us for about 10 minutes. He talked about how we should appreciate what a great country we live in and to always take pride in ourselves and all that we do. Coach Hayes died just a couple of years later. Now, whenever I see a picture of Woody, I think back to that few minutes and the kind look on his face and the rough feel of his hand. And when I was a student, I would often walk past that point on Neil Ave and remember the man. I don't remember him as a coach, I was a little young for that. What I do remember is a man who, for at least 10 minutes, was one of the kindest, gentlest, and wisest men I had ever met. Woody, you'll never be forgotten. The legend lives on. . . GO BUCKS!
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I've only really met anyone at autograph sessions, but I saw Archie at the spring game a few years ago. My friend and I were trying to figure out if it was him, and he saw us and said, "Yeah, it's me". We said hi and chatted just a bit, but that was all.

I almost ran over Chris Jhent (sp?) when I was in school once. I had a job with the university where we drove vans around campus for deliveries, etc. I was driving one day and he walked right out in front of me and I honestly damn near hit him. Boy, Randy Ayers would have been pissed at me....
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Nice story Wyo.

I ran into Woody when I was a student during the Viet Nam protests when he was on the oval trying to calm things down. That was the only time I ever saw him when he wasn't on the sideline.

I have never been comfortable asking for autographs or starting conversations with celebs - sometimes envy those who are at ease in doing so.

But I was at the WHAC for a practice with some friends last fall and a lady I was with was asking for sigs as the players made their way to the field. She got everyone she was after except Krenzel who came out last and told here he had to get to the field but would catch her after practice.

After practice she parked herself in his path. When he came by there was a throng asking for sigs and he said he was sorry but he was again in a hurry and did not have time to sign (with the number of folks it would have taken serveral minutes to satisfy them all). He started to walk past, stopped, turned, looked at my friend and said "Except this lady. I had already promised her." He gave her a sig and walked away. For some reason that really impressed me - that he would remember her, remember his promise, and care enough to stop.

BTW - Just for the record, I do have one autograph in my 'collection'. I was at Muirfield several years ago and was trying to leave. There is a spot where the golfers pass through next to the clubhouse and when they go by they pull up a rope that blocks the exit and you have to wait for them to pass. This is where all the kids hang out and get their sigs. I was waiting at the rope and had taken my cap off to wipe my brow just as Joe Osaki was walking past. He grabbed the cap from my hand, signed it and handed it back before I knew what was going on. All I could say was "Thanks, Joe".
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