I'm going to use this space to focus on the career and life of the player we associate with the building of Ohio Stadium, Chic Harley. Most of us know that Harley was a three-time All-American and his football skills were the driving force in raising money to build Ohio Stadium. However, there are some things about Harley that are not well known.
Although I grew up in Columbus I did not know that Chic Harley went to East High School. What makes it worse is that I played on Harley Field and did not make the connection.
Below you will read excerpts about Harley's playing days, his service in WWI and the rest of his story that I had never known.
Chic Harley, HB, S, P, K (1916, 1917 and 1919)
Born: 1894 (Chicago)
High School: East (Columbus)
Died: 1974 (Columbus)
The Buckeyes were 21-1-1 with Harley on the team.
1916 Big Ten Title.
1917 Big Ten Title.
Went 1-0 against That Team (Ohio State's first victory in the series).
1918 was a pilot in the Air Service for WWI.
Chic Harley's Ohio State career per ohiostatebuckeyes.com:
Charles “Chic” Harley was Ohio State’s first three-time All-American. Harley won All-America honors as a running back in 1916 and ’17. He spent 1918 in the military but then returned to OSU in 1919 and picked up where he had left off, again winning All-America acclaim. In addition to running the football, he also punted, kicked extra points (he used the drop kick) and played defense. Fans turned out in record numbers to watch Harley play.
Harley led the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten title in 1916, a repeat championship in 1917 and a second-place finish in 1919. In 1919, he was named team captain.
During his three seasons at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 21-1-1. The Buckeyes played at old Ohio Field during the Harley era. But largely because of his play, Ohio Stadium was built in 1922 and has been known as the “House that Harley built.” His jersey number 47 was retired in 2004.
A description of the 1919 victory over That Team per Wikipedia:
The 1919 season is most remembered at Ohio State, however, for recording the school's first victory over arch-rival Michigan. Following the Buckeyes' 13-3 win, the legendary Michigan head coach Fielding H. Yost asked for and was granted a rare moment to address the Ohio State team.
"You deserve your victory, you fought brilliantly," Yost began. "You boys gave a grand exhibition of football strategy and while I am sorry, dreadfully sorry, that we lost, I want to congratulate you. And you, Mr. Harley, I believe, are one of the finest little machines I have ever seen."
Harley's pro football career and life changing illness per chicharley.com:
In 1921, following Harley’s college career, George Halas, the manager of the Decatur Staleys (later to become the Chicago Bears), football team wanted to recruit Chic so badly that he offered he and his brother, Bill, half of the season’s proceeds. But by the end of the 1921 season, everything had changed and Chic was embarking on a terrible struggle to maintain his sanity. Within days after his final game as a pro, Chic found himself confined to a sanitarium in Dayton, Ohio. It was the start of a battle with mental illness that would tragically remain with him the rest of his life.
For the next four decades, Harley lived in an Illinois Veterans Administration Hospital. While his close friends never forgot what he had done for American sport and in particular for Ohio State University, Chic’s star slowly faded into near obscurity. It was the love of his friends and, in particularly his loving sister Ruth, that gave Chic the strength and determination to live his life as best he could. It was also the love of his nephew, Richard, the only child of Ruth, who played a pivotal role in keeping Chic’s flame alive to this day.
The new book The One And Only: Chic Harley - America's Great Athlete chronicles the exhilarating ups and tragic downs of this quiet, modest sports hero as told by a family member who knew him well.
A description of how Harley played per the book The One and Only:
He ran like a rabbit, was strong as an ox, possessed a smile that would melt anyone, and was the most modest person you'd ever want to meet.
But packed into the 5-foot, 8-inch and 158 pound modest frame of Charles W. "Chic" Harley was a dynamo who by the time he played in his last football game for the Buckeyes in 1919, had almost single-handedly catapulted The Ohio State University into a national powerhouse and set the stage for the building of its famed Horseshoe stadium.
A.J. Hawk, LB (2002-05)
Born: 1984 (Kettering, Ohio)
High School: Centerville
The Buckeyes were 43-8 with Hawk on the team.
2002 National Champions.
2002 Big Ten Title.
2005 Big Ten Title.
2003 defeated Miami 31-24 (2OT) to win the Fiesta Bowl National Championship.
2004 defeated Kansas State 35-38 to win the Fiesta Bowl.
2004 defeated Oklahoma State 33-7 to win the Alamo Bowl.
2006 defeated Notre Dame 34-20 to win the Fiesta Bowl.
Went 3-1 against That Team.
2005 Team MVP.
2005 Lombardi Award.
2005 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
2005 Jack Lambert Trophy.
2005 All-Big Ten.
2004 All-Big Ten.
2003 All-Big Ten.
A.J. Hawk's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
A.J. Hawk capped a brilliant senior year by becoming Ohio State’s fifth Lombardi Award winner, presented annually since 1970 to the best player in college football who lines up within five yards of the snap.
The 6-1, 247-pound Hawk finished the 2005 campaign with a team-high 121 tackles, marking the third consecutive year he had paced the Buckeyes in that category. His tackle totals included 16.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks, both best on the team.
In addition to the Lombardi Award, Hawk was the 2005 Big Ten pre-season and post-season Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive MVP of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
A first-team All-American both as a junior and senior, Hawk closed his career as the fifth leading tackler in Ohio State history with 494 career stops, 41 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks. His 141 tackles in 2004 were the most by an Ohio State player since 1986.
Hawk led the team in tackles in 10 of 12 games in 2005, including a season-high 19 stops against Michigan State. A four-year letterman, Hawk was elected co-captain as a senior, receiving a vote from every player on the team except for himself.
Players like A.J. Hawk don’t come along very often. His intensity and passion for the game made him special. His long blond locks flowing out from beneath his helmet in tribute to the late Pat Tillman, he was literally all over the field making plays and encouraging his teammates.
The 2005 Ohio State defense was one of the most formidable in the nation, leading the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and sacks. Needless to say, Hawk played a huge role in that success.
Following the season, Hawk was the fifth player taken in the 2006 NFL draft, going to the Green Bay Packers, his current team.
Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide
137 days until The Game.