Harold G. Olsen: Ohio State's Longest-Serving Basketball Coach and Godfather of the Final Four

Comments Show All Comments

GrandTheftHarley's picture

That's a great piece of Buckeyes Basketball history there, Kyle.

TOSU owes a lot to Coach Olsen. Thanks for giving him his just due.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

HS
GoBuckeyes1020's picture

After watching a few minutes of the 1939 footage those teams make it past the first round or two of the high school boys tournament. The game has surely changed.

Sweet throwback uniform ideas though

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, take your pick

HS
Hovenaut's picture

Very nice read.

I knew of Olsen, but not to this level of detail...he's definitely worthy of due recognition.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

HS
andretolstoy's picture

I could never understand how we could have a stinking Castle on campus and then just be ok with tearing it down after a fire and not renovating it? 

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

HS
LeftCoastBuckeye's picture

I grew up hearing my mom complain about that for decades.  The Armory was her favorite building on campus .  I just googled it again, and it does look like it was an interesting building.  

My aim, then, is to whip the Weasels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.   - William Tecumseh Sherman (with apologies)

HS
Poco Loco's picture

My uncle was an assistant  coach on the 39 team. He was an assistant jFB and BB coach until he joined the Navy in 42. One story that was told in the family was that Paul Brown said that only he and the swimming coach earned their money. This tended to piss of Olsen and Larry Snyder the track coach. PB was not know as a people person. 

a hard rock miner from Butte, Montana

HS
bucksfan92's picture

Mayne you can help put to rest an inkling I have had for many years.  Knowing that Olsen was the driving force behind the creation of the NCAA tournament, this little idea has always crawled around in my head that maybe he sort of "threw" that title game on purpose because it would look bad if his team won it.  I don't really have any concrete evidence to support this "tinfoil hat" theory but it just is something I've wondered.  I don't suppose your uncle ever said anything that could give a grain of truth to that did he?

HS
M-villeBuck's picture

The one coach who has had the most extensive influence on the college game over the years is Fred R. Taylor.  His 'coaching trees' and innovative coaching ideas' are extensive.  

OH2NoVa2CVA

HS
BeatMeechigun's picture

I know we are in the era where everyone gets a trophy, banner, or their signature on the basketball court, but the addition of Olsen's name to the rafters alongside Fred Taylor and Thad Matta's seems very appropriate to me.

4 Final Four appearances, 5 Big Ten championships, father of the NCAA tournament.  That seems adequate to me.

There were some lackluster seasons, especially during the first half of his tenure at OSU, but when taken into account the state of the program prior to his arrival those are less concerning.

HS
ibuck's picture

the addition of Olsen's name to the rafters alongside Fred Taylor and Thad Matta's seems very appropriate to me.

Yep, glad they are recognized. Buckeye fans should be proud of these coaches.

Both Taylor and Olsen were inducted the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Taylor as a coach and Olsen as a contributor to the game.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

HS
ibuck's picture

The NCAA has an interesting website detailing the history of the game, which initially (1896) had 9 players for each team on the court at the same time. Must have been interesting for the ref(s).

They state that in 1932, "The midcourt line and 10-second rule are introduced to reduce stalling." In 1985 a shot clock was introduced (45 seconds), also to stop stalling.

And for 9 years, dunking the ball was disallowed.

Worth checking out, hover over the text to make it easier to read.  They also mention the TTUN hoops scandal.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

HS
TLB's picture

I believe they took the dunk out because of Lew Alcindor

HS
Tom Ramsey's picture

That is fact.  Amazing to have a rule change to try to make one player less dominant.

Tom

HS
ibuck's picture

Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) seemed to be a big factor in that, but it was still prohibited 5 years after his college eligibility ran out.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

HS
WestSideTower'79's picture

I believe the 9 player days had four each offensive and defensive players that could not cross mid-court. Only one player from each team could play both ends.  When I lived there for awhile in the early eighties, girls HS basketball was played that way in both Iowa and Oklahoma. I'm sure it's changed now in the pursuit of college scholarships, although you should never bet on what thoughts might prevail in those states.

North until you smell it, west until you step in it

HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Thanks for sharing this story on Olsen and Buckeye Bball.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

HS
Bucknut-in-the-South's picture

Excellent story, Kyle. My grandfather, pictured in my icon with Jesse Owens, is the second from the right, back row in your photo. He was the head athletic trainer in those days, and often took my then young father on trips with the teams, both football and basketball. While OSU's football tradition overshadows basketball's, on a national level, we are in the top echelons all time. Thanks for the memories.

 

HS
bucksfan92's picture

Thanks for the article.  Being an avid OSU basketball fan I knew much of this, but not all.  I was well aware that Olsen was one of, and likely THE key component to getting the NCAA tournament started, and I absolutely agree his name needs to be on a banner in the Schott.  I think it will be one day soon.  It took OSU decades to get Woody Hayes and Paul Brown acknowledgments in the Shoe, and Fred Taylor in the Schott.  Hopefully they will get Olsen up in the rafters before the 100th anniversary of his hiring.

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

Seems sometimes the BOD are clueless...........

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

HS
Icouldnotgofor3's picture

Fantastic article. I did not know of Olsen's contributions to the game. Well done and credit where credit is due....

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

HS
BuckeyeRocket's picture

Buckeyes have more Final Four appearances than any other Big Ten team. You can look it up!

BuckeyeRocket

HS
Floyd Stahl's picture

Great article!

Smokes Risen is a name for the ages.

HS