The Ohio State University women's basketball team is back, folks.
Well, maybe not quite yet. But a win over Wisconsin to snap a three-game skid starts to move the ball in the direction it was rolling when the Buckeyes won 19 straight contests to start the 2022-23 season.
Time to start another win streak.
Let's have a good Thursday, shall we?
FROM BUCKEYE TO AMERICAN HERO. With February recognized as Black History Month in the United States, I spent some time Thursday reading stories about the best Black athletes in Ohio State history.
I read about Archie Griffin's back-to-back Heisman Trophies in 1974 and 1975, Jim Jackson's 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in an Ohio State win over Indiana in 1992 and Eddie George's 314 rushing yards in the Buckeyes' victory against Illinois in his Heisman-winning 1995 season.
These stories were phenomenal, but then I came across the Holy Grail: Jesse Owens' performances at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where at 22 years old he became the first person ever to win four gold medals at one time in Olympic track history. Even more, he accomplished that feat in front of Germany's Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, who at the time was proclaiming to the world the superiority of the Aryan race.
That's some GOAT behavior.
The Greatest of All Time is how Owens is viewed among most track athletes worldwide. By Ohio State standards, the Cleveland native is undoubtedly the best track and field athlete in the school's history, and he may even be the best athlete, period. That's what the readers of Eleven Warriors believe, at least.
In a poll that asked, "Who is the greatest male athlete in Ohio State history?" nearly 5,000 of the 6,600 voters selected Owens over the likes of Griffin, Jack Nicklaus, Kyle Snyder, Jerry Lucas and others. That's not a close, down-to-the-wire win. That's a runaway victory.
Jesse Owens, @OhioStateTFXC— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) February 1, 2023
As the first Big Ten African-American team captain, Owens shattered four world record in one day at OSU in 1935 and became a four-time gold-medalist in the 1936 Olympics. #GoBucks
It's been more than 86 years since Owens' performances at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games, yet Owens has that kind of reputation in Buckeye Nation. Read about him and the many other Black athletes who became legends at Ohio State today, tomorrow, this week, this month and every month. Great stories await.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. TreVeyon Henderson is a really good running back. Apparently, many media pundits have failed to remember that fact, with the most recent culprit being Max Chadwick of Pro Football Focus.
In Chadwick's most recent article for PFF, he ranked the top 10 running backs returning to college football in 2023. The players you would expect are on the list, including Michigan's Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, Penn State's Nick Singleton and Ohio State's Miyan Williams. However, Henderson is a notable omission from the list.
Look, I know Henderson didn't meet expectations this past fall, but that's because he played most of the year with a broken foot that also caused him to miss five games. Despite his injury, Henderson finished the season with 107 carries for 571 yards and six touchdowns on the ground and 28 yards with a score through the air.
Those numbers may not stack up with Corum, Edwards or whoever else Chadwick placed in his top 10, but that's no reason for Henderson to be left off the list, especially when PFF had him rated No. 4 in the same running back rankings released last year.
Oh yes, I kept the receipts.
Henderson is, without a doubt, one of the top 10 running backs returning to college football in 2023. I'll offer Chadwick the benefit of the doubt and say he knows that, but he let Henderson's injury scare him away from ranking him on his list.
As a friendly reminder for those who may agree with Chadwick's claim that Henderson is not a top-10 back, please let me remind you that the last time Henderson played an entire season for Ohio State, he had 210 combined touches for 1,560 yards and a freshman-record 19 total touchdowns. Look out for that Henderson in 2023.
THAT'S ALL, FOLKS. Urban Meyer coached at Ohio State for seven years, went 83-9 and won a national championship. With that incredible resume, Meyer could have ridden off into the sunset following his retirement in 2018 as he cashed his checks on FOX's Big Noon Kickoff. But there was a problem: Meyer still had the itch to coach football.
He decided to scratch that itch with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, his tenure as the Jaguars coach went as bad as possible, and Meyer was fired after a 2-11 start to a season filled with plenty of well-documented controversies.
After that, Meyer returned to his role with Big Noon Kickoff, a place he plans to stay for the foreseeable future, according to his remarks on Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden's podcast called All Things Covered.
MCFADDEN: "When you look back on that experience (with the Jaguars), is there anything you wish you would have done differently? And seeing what happened in Jacksonville, do you have any desire to return to the sidelines?"
MEYER: "No desire. And of course I would do some things differently."
This could be me, but I don't think there's a chance in H-E double hockey sticks that the legendary Urban Meyer wants his last act in coaching to be the failure he had in Jacksonville. He'll be back on the sidelines eventually – somewhere.
But if anyone has hopes that will be for Ohio State, save your breath. Porky Pig ended Meyer's tenure in Columbus with a "That's all, folks!" back in 2018. The Ryan Day Era is about to enter year five and has the chance to continue for a long, long time if he puts the Michigan Wolverines back where they belong in the rivalry.
WOMEN IN SPORTS. While Thursday marked the start of Black History Month, the first day of February is also known as National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The public holiday was celebrated by Ohio State football with a picture of its female employees.
These are the women that help make Ohio State one of the best programs in the country. While the photo shows what they look like, it doesn't tell us what they do, so I did some research and decided to pass along what I found.
Here is who they are (from left to right in the photo):
- Erin Dunston has been with Ohio State since March 2021 and is the director of on-campus recruiting. In this role, she coordinates official and unofficial visits for recruits, special events and game-day recruiting activities.
- Kayla Hackenberg is a veteran on Ohio State's staff and will enter her 11th year with the program in 2023. Her time with the Buckeyes has included stints as a student assistant, administrator and now as a full-time coordinator in administration and operations. She is responsible for camps and clinics, travel and is a liaison for former players, coaches, staff, families and NFL personnel.
- Caroline Riewe joined Ohio State's sports nutrition staff in June 2022 as an assistant performance dietitian. She works with football (and men's and women’s volleyball) to optimize the athlete’s health and performance by assessing nutritional needs and developing individualized nutrition plans.
- Maddie Marotti was a softball player at Ohio State before becoming an administrator for the football program. She is also a special assistant to Ryan Day and assists him with schedule management, event planning, travel support, and expense reports.
- Kaila Olson, MS, RD, LD, became Ohio State's performance dietitian in July 2019 after serving for two and a half years as a dietetic intern at the university. In her role, Olson is responsible for assessing players’ nutritional and health needs and developing meal and nutrition plans to meet their goals.
- Ali Fischer joined Ohio State's athletic training staff as an intern with football (and men’s tennis) in April 2021. She received her bachelor's degree in athletic training from the university in 2019.
- Carey Hoyt is a senior associate athletic director who oversees the Gene Smith Leadership Institute and is the sport administrator for football (and several other sports). She also leads the NIL programs for all Ohio State student-athletes.
- Candace Johnson is about to enter her third year with Ohio State in 2023 as a coordinator for career and professional development for the football program. She oversees the Real Life Wednesday initiative, career fair and internship program for the Buckeyes.
- Charron Sumler, LPC, coordinates services and resources for university players in crisis situations. She has more than 10 years of experience in counseling, leadership and case management and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Edwards University and a master’s in counseling from Texas State University.
SONG OF THE DAY. "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.
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