Not just anyone can dot the "i" in one of the greatest traditions in college football, Script Ohio.
So when news broke Monday morning that Ohio State planned to honor former football coach Earle Bruce with a chance to do so, it became a pretty big deal.
“We chose Earle Bruce to be an honorary i-dotter because of his amazing work with the football team and his love for the band,” fourth-year Ohio State student and current sousaphone player Cy Aalaei said in a press release. “He demonstrated his excellent leadership and commitment to our team, but the moment he felt like a true Buckeye, as he fondly recalled with us, was when he first heard the band as a freshman at Ohio State.”
The honor hits Bruce close to home as well.
“I am proud to be an honorary member of the band, and being offered this unique opportunity to dot the ‘i’ for the signature Script Ohio is incredibly special to me and something I never even imagined,” Bruce said. “I think this is the greatest honor I’ve ever received.”
Only 13 other times in what is now the band's 80th season of performing Script Ohio at Buckeye football games has someone other than a fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player dotted the "i." Bruce is set to be the 14th.
The other guest "i" dotters:
- Former University President Novice Fawcett: served as Ohio State University President from 1956-1972. He dotted the "i" in 1971.
- Comedian Bob Hope: Born in London, Hope grew up in Ohio and dotted the "i" in 1978.
- Former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes: A legend in coaching lore, Hayes received the chance to dot the "i" in 1983, less than five years after Ohio State fired him and the first time the ex-coach was honored publicly since his disgraced exit for punching Clemson's Charlie Baumann in the 1978 Gator Bowl.
- Former Ohio State Ticket Director Robert Ries: Ries dotted the "i" in September of 1985, a day Ohio State knocked off Pittsburgh 10-7.
- Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion James 'Buster' Douglas: A boxing legend that knocked out Mike Tyson in February 1990, Douglas dotted the "i" that fall when the Buckeyes hosted USC. In an ESPN Sports Nation chat, Douglas called it "an awesome feeling."
- Former Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee: Gee served two separate terms as University President, from 1990-98 and then again from 2007-13. He dotted the "i" with his wife, Constance, in 1995 while the Alumni Band performed a quadruple Script Ohio.
- The 13 Seniors of the 2002 Ohio State National Title Team: Among the seniors from the 2002 title team were Mike Doss, Donnie Nickey, Matt Wilhelm and Cie Grant, who sang Carmen Ohio at the team's celebration in Ohio Stadium a few weeks after the Buckeyes topped Miami (FL) to win it all.
- Golf Legend and Ohio State Great Jack Nicklaus: An Upper Arlington native, Nicklaus attended Ohio State from 1957-61. His 18 major championships on the PGA Tour are the most ever and he dotted the "i" at halftime of Ohio State's game against Minnesota in 2006. "The Golden Bear" donned a black cap with a red Block O, a look that Woody Hayes made famous. Nicklaus called it "an emotional day."
- Former Astronaut, U.S. Senator John Glenn: Glenn dotted the "i" with his wife, Annie, before Ohio State's 2009 season opener against Navy.
- Ohio State Alumnus, Donor and CEO of Limited Brands Les Wexner: Wexner dotted the "i" in September 2011 before Ohio State beat Akron 42-0.
- Former Band Composer and Arranger Richard Heine: Universally responsible for his arrangements of the chimes and Carmen Ohio, the Ohio State alma mater. Also a veteran of the United States Navy and fought in World War II.
- Former Band Director Dr. Jon Woods: The longest serving band director in the band's 137-year illustrious history, Woods dotted the "i" during halftime of Ohio State's 20-14 loss to Penn State in November of 2011. Woods became assistant band director in 1974 and director 10 years later before retiring in 2011. He passed away at the age of 76 after battling Parkinson's disease last September on alumni band day, when the Buckeyes hosted and defeated Hawaii 38-0.
- Former Band Director Jack Evans: Orchestrated the Skull Session's move from its rehearsal room to St. John Arena in 1957. Also collaborated with his staff to begin a stripe ranking system for band members. Evans dotted the "i" with his wife.
- Former Band Director Dr. Paul Droste: Expanded the band first to 160 members and later 192 by adding more sousaphones, snare drums and cymbals. Also oversaw the induction of women into the band in 1973. Droste dotted the "i" with his wife, Ann.