Ohio State lost a legend this week.
Charles "Chuck" Csuri – a Buckeye football great, a World War II veteran and a pioneer in the field of computer art – died at the age of 99 on Sunday, Ohio State announced.
Csuri was a three-year letterman for the Buckeye football team, playing for head coach Paul Brown from 1941-1943. Dubbed by Brown “the perfect tackle,” Csuri led Ohio State to its first national in 1942 and was named All-American and the team’s Most Valuable Player. He was the last living member of Ohio State's 1942 national championship team.
After serving as a team captain in 1943, Csuri was selected by Chicago Cardinals in the 1944 NFL Draft, but he declined to enter the league, instead opting to serve his country in World War II. Csuri served in the U.S. Army from 1943-46, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and received a Bronze Star for heroism.
During the battle, the lines of communication between the front line and the artillery unit became disconnected and Csuri volunteered to single-handedly cross enemy lines to take information back to Allied headquarters. He made it – but got his helmet and belt pack shot off in the process.
According to The Lantern, Csuri tucked the medal away in a drawer and had "long since forgotten" about his heroic act until his daughter found it several years later. She gave it to Tressel in 2010, who had it displayed in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
At the end of the 2010 season, Ohio State wore alternate uniforms paying homage to Csuri's 1942 squad. The uniforms specifically honored Csuri, featuring his bronze star on the back of the helmet and his initials on the gloves
Tressel also requested that Csuri appear in a video he made for Ohio State's 2010 senior class ahead of the annual clash with Michigan.
"Let me ask you a question, let me ask you what happens when you take your time showing up in war? There's no halftime speech, there's no halftime," Csuri said in the video. "The game tomorrow is your war. Be the best you can from the moment you walk out on the field tomorrow, not 10 minutes later, not after some pep talk. The moment you walk out on that field, beat Michigan.
"In 1942, we did," Csuri continued. "And it's something you're going to remember for the rest of your life."
Following his military service, Csuri returned to Ohio State to pursue his master's degree in fine arts. Though drafted into the NFL before the war, Csuri did not wish to return to the field once he returned.
"When I came back, I didn't have the psychological makeup to be as aggressive about things as I was before I went into the war," Csuri told The Lantern. "I had no desire to play professional football."
He remained at Ohio State for 40 years as a professor of art education and formed the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and co-founded the Ohio Supercomputer Center and Cranston/Csuri Productions, one of the first computer animation companies in the world
Csuri was dubbed the “father of computer art” by Smithsonian and led the development of code to enable artists to produce art. His early work in computer plotter drawings, computer animation and 3D imagery secured his spot as a pioneer in combining art with technology.
Csuri's work has since been applied to flight simulators, computer-aided design, visualization of scientific phenomena, magnetic resonance imaging, education for the deaf, architecture and special effects for television and films.