Mount Buckmore of the Decade: 1960s

By Chris Lauderback on May 7, 2012 at 10:00a
Mount Buckmore for the 60's features Jack Tatum, Jim Stillwagon, Rex Kern and Bob Ferguson.

With spring ball but a distant memory and fall camp seemingly forever off in the distance, the trail of tears otherwise known as the off-season is officially upon us. 

I guess the bright side is that the last two off-seasons brought nothing but pain so a quiet yet prolonged version in 2012 won't seem so bad. Still, with plenty of time before the pads start popping again we might as well reflect on some Buckeye greats from decades past. 

Having been competing on the gridiron since 1890, Ohio State has a filthy rich tradition including seven national titles, 34 conference crowns, 78 All-Americans, an all-time winning percentage of 72% generating 819 wins and seven Heisman Trophy winners. 

Though the history stretches back 121 years, I arbitrarily decided to focus on the last five full decades in an effort to determine the four players (coaches excluded) that are most deserving of a place on that particular decade's Mount Buckmore. 

Today, we'll start with the 60s, a span that saw the scarlet and gray rack up two national titles under the guidance of Woody Hayes. 

Who makes the cut on the 1960s Mount Buckmore? I actually thought it would be a little more difficult to determine but in the end it was pretty clear cut for me with just a small handful of guys capable of producing a realistic argument to supplant one of the following four who earned a spot on the mountain: 

Bob Ferguson - Fullback - 1959-61

Who wants some?Though not all fans are as familiar with Ferguson as they should be, there's absolutely no question the bruising fullback was a top four player during the 60's. 

Featured in Woody's ground attack, Ferguson lead the team in scoring and rushing in both 60's years and was the #2 all-time OSU rusher at the culmination of his career. 

The two time 1st team All-B1G and All-American selection was an absolute beast in '61 leading the Buckeyes to the national title as voted by the Football Writers with an 8-0-1 record. Big Bob would've likely also blown up in the Rose Bowl but this was the season the school faculty council voted to decline the bid out of concern football was getting too big setting off minor riots and Woody's verbal venom toward the alumni club president. That year, Ferguson destroyed Michigan with four touchdowns in a 50-20 blowout and also racked up four scores against Illinois. His efforts earned a 2nd place finish to Ernie Davis in the 2nd closest vote ever at the time. 

Despite losing out on the Heisman, Ferguson did capture the Maxwell Award and was voted the Player of the Year by UPI. 

Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996, Ferguson also holds a spot on Ohio State's All-Century Team. 


The leader of the Super Sophs, Kern is another guy who practically earns a spot simply for his work during the 1968 national championship run. 

Woody's coach on the field, Kern engineered the run dominated attack rushing for over 500 yards in both '68 and '69 while passing for a combined 1,974 yards during the same stretch. The numbers mean nothing today but in a 60's OSU attack, Kern was just what Woody needed under center to compete for a title. 

As such, Kern was at his best down the stretch of the '68 season guiding the Buckeyes to 421 yards on the ground in a 50-14 spanking of Michigan before taking center stage in the Rose Bowl matchup with USC throwing two clutch 4th quarter TD passes to earn game MVP honors. His performance was the cherry on top of a season in which he picked up 1st team All-American honors and finished in 3rd for the Heisman. 

Kern helped OSU to 22 straight wins spanning '68 and '69 and went 27-2 over his career but it must be noted he threw four picks in the '69 loss to Michigan costing the Buckeyes a shot at back to back titles. 

Still, Kern was the face of the franchise during one of the most dominating stretches of OSU football. Additionally, he went on to earn his Bachelor's, Masters and PHD from The Ohio State University. 

Jim stillwagon - defensive tackle - 1968-1970

Stillwagon was voted an All-Time Argo in Toronto

Stillwagon is another Super Soph and started all three years for the Buckeyes after becoming the last member of Woody's vaunted '67 recruiting haul. 

Though he mostly lined up in the trenches, Stillwagon also saw time at linebacker and his dominance from any position helped him become the first player to capture both the Outland and Lombardi Awards in 1970. 

The two-time All-American also won UPI's Lineman of the Year award and went on to become a three time All-Star in a five year CFL career with the Toronto Argonauts. 

The Mt. Vernon product is often referred to as the best lineman to have played for Woody. 

Stillwagon, who was voted Team MVP in '70, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991 and is a member of the OSU All-Century Team. 

Jack tatum - defensive back - 1968-70

So, I doubt any of you are questioning this one. 

Recruited by Ohio State as a running back, assistant coach Lou Holtz is the man responsible for convicing Woody that Tatum belonged on the defensive side of the ball. 

Interestingly, Tatum didn't even start playing football until his sophomore year of high school but proved a quick study in the art of Taking Your Freaking Head Off. 

The man known later known as The Assassin, Tatum was a star in the secondary daring receivers to catch a pass over the middle and even moved up to LB in some obvious running situations. 

Tatum was 1st team All-B1G in '68, '69 and '70, a unanimous All-American his final two seasons and was recognized as the National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. 

After an illustrious NFL career, Tatum was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and was also named as a captain of the OSU All-Century Team. 

He was basically Chuck Norris in cleats and an afro. 

the notables

Paul Warfield was hard to keep off the mountain as he managed to thrive in Woody's offensive system earning 1st team All-B1G in '62 and '63 before going on the star in the NFL, most notably as an impact player on the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins in addition to six 1st team All-Pro selections. 

Mike Sensibaugh is a lesser known name my most Buckeye fans but makes a strong case for top four status. The defensive back was 1st team All-B1G in '69 thanks to a school record nine picks and his career total of 22 is also a school record. 

Jim Otis was a two-time All-B1G selection and in '69 earned both Team MVP and All-American honors. Otis came up large in the 1969 Rose Bowl helping OSU to the national title with 101 yards and a TD on 30 carries. He led the team in scoring in both '68 and '69 and is a member of the OSU All-Century Team. In my estimation, he's clearly the 1st alternate as I look at all the players from the 60's for inclusion onto the Mount Buckmore. 

Who's your four?


Comments Show All Comments

bassplayer7770's picture

I didn't know Jim Stillwagon was from Mt. Vernon.  Interesting...

chadwyck11's picture

I'm from Mt. Vernon and I've never heard about him, which is odd considering we have a yearly festival dedicated to the guy who wrote "Dixie". I'm also a relatively new OSU fan, so that may have something to do with it too

bassplayer7770's picture

I grew up in that area, but I was aware of Ollie Cline who played high school ball where I also grew up.

Maestro's picture

Love to look back on Buckeye history.  Thanks for doing this.  Otis and Warfield are tough to leave off the mount, but good job.

vacuuming sucks

hodge's picture

I can see how Mike would have made a Sensibaugh choice...

Maestro's picture

Nice Hodge, and John Brockington could get an honorable mention possibly.

vacuuming sucks

Maestro's picture

Oh, and good luck with the 70's.

vacuuming sucks

Denny's picture

Bob Ferguson looks like he was made from blocks. Dig the helmet (though not it's squared-ness) and the jersey pants.


Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Jesus - I can't even imagine trying to tackle Ferguson once he got up some momentum!  Makes me sore just thinking about it.  I remember Upper Arlington having a massive back that after the third quarter, I just didn't even try to throw myself in his way - I'd had enough physical punishment for one game! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I can't argue too much with this--I like the 2 offense, 2 defense split. Maybe the only swap-out would be Ike Kelley for one of the defenders, so as to represent the mid-decade and not have 3 players from 1968-69. But it's not a big deal.

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osusteveb5875's picture

I can understand Eddie George not being among the 4 but definitely think he merits being honorable mention

hodge's picture

I don't think Mr. George played during the Sixties...

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Man, Eddie was awesome - but unborn Eddie had zero shot at making Mount Buckmore: 1960s (give Chris a few weeks - he'll get to the 1990s eventually).

Maestro's picture

Unborn Eddie calls b.s.

vacuuming sucks

osubuckeye4life's picture

I ran a search for Buckeye Mountain on Google and found some interesting stuff. 
Anyone ever heard of Buckeye Gulch in SD?
Ironically, its not far from Mount Rushmore. 
Buckeye Gulch is a valley belonging to the County of Pennington. The closest populated place is that of Keystone that is 0.46 miles far from Buckeye Gulch.
Buckeye Gulch is also 1.66 miles far from the closest airport or heliport, the Rushmore Airport.
Latitude:  43.89389
Longitude:  -103.42417
DMS - Latitude:  43° 53 min 38 sec
DMS - Longitude:  -103° 25 min 27.01 sec
Or Buckeye Peak in CO?
 Buckeye Peak geo coordinates are latitude: 39.3455441 and longitude:-106.2536351. Buckeye Peak is located in United States country, Colorado province. Buckeye Peak elevation (height) is 3923 meters. Buckeye Peak is the 2648. highest mountain in 106.826 mounts.
Buckeye Peak is best accessed via the Buckeye Gulch Trailhead on  Colorado 91. The climb is a relatively mellow 3 mile skin, with some flat sections close to 11,200'. Once you pass treeline you will see a ridge to the west, which makes a great spot for quick laps, with easy access. If you continue along the trail, (towards the Sangree Froelicher Hut) you will see Buckeye peak to the north. From the summit of Buckeye, ski the bowl that descends down to the east for a really fun, slightly more technical run. There is a lot of terrain up there to choose from, and you also have the choice of heading west towards CO 24 and Ski Cooper Mountain. Reserve a night or two at the 10th mountain hut (Sangree Froelicher Hut) to make a multiple day trip out of this area.
How To Get There
Take CO 91 south from the Copper Mtn exit on I-70. The Buckeye Gulch Trailhead is about 5 miles north of Leadville, CO. Parking for the trailhead is between milemarker 4 and 5, on the north side of the highway, and is denoted with a public parking sign. 
That said those are some very fine choices and I really can't argue with them.