A civil engineer. A lawyer. And a professor. What do they all have in common? They were all football coaches at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes set out on another season in Ohio State football when they take the field on Sept. 1. Expectations are high under new head coach Urban Meyer, who returns to his home state and the place where he first began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1987. As we look forward to a new era under Coach Meyer, we’re also taking a look back at the history of Ohio State football and the men who coached our beloved Buckeyes.
Alexander S. Lilley
Years coached: 1890-1891
Fun fact: The first Ohio State football coach, Lilley will always be a part of Buckeye history. Not just because he was the first coach, but also because he was well known for riding to practices on a pony.
Years coached: 1892-1895, 1898
Fun fact: Despite being only the second coach in Ohio State history, Ryder still holds a school record. To date, he is the youngest Buckeye coach ever, taking the helm at just 21 years old.
Charles A. Hickey
Years coached: 1896
Fun fact: Fans during Hickey's tenure were treated to what is now a football staple: concession stands. Among the firsts up for grabs were candy, popcorn, peanuts, and chrysanthemums.
David F. Edwards
Years coached: 1897
Fun fact: Although he coached for only one year, Edwards has the distinction of coaching in one of Ohio State's greatest traditions: the very first game against Michigan. The Buckeyes lost, 34-0. (Get details on the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry from University Archives.)
John B. Eckstorm
Years coached: 1899-1901
Fun fact: Eckstorm's career started with great success. In his inaugural year, the Buckeyes went 9-0, capturing their first Ohio championship and starting a 23-year winning streak.
Years coached: 1902-03
Fun fact: After losing to Michigan, Hale and his team were the driving inspiration for Fred Cornell to write Carmen Ohio--created to help cheer up Buckeye fans and look forward to next season. (Read up on your Carmen history and download a Carmen ringtone.)
Edwin R. Sweetland
Years coached: 1904-05
Fun fact: Sweetland's career at Ohio State may have been short, but he set an important milestone: His team was the very first to score points against Michigan.
Years coached: 1906-09
Fun fact: Herrnstein is perhaps best known not for his coaching, but for playing for the team up north. In the 1902 Michigan game, he scored six touchdowns as the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 86–0.
Years coached: 1910
Fun fact: Ohio State was the first of several successful coaching jobs for Jones, who went on to coach winning teams at Iowa and the University of Southern California.
Years coached: 1911
Fun fact: Vaughan's career in football was short: He resigned after just one year and decided to pursue a law degree from Yale instead.
John R. Richards
Years coached: 1912
Fun fact: The most famous game under Richards was against Penn State, when the coach yanked his team off the field with nine minutes left to play for what he called excessive violence by the Nittany Lions.
John W. Wilce
Years coached: 1913-1928
Fun fact: Wilce's career was chock full of firsts for the Buckeyes: They moved into Ohio Stadium for the first time, joined what would become the Big Ten Conference, and played in their first Rose Bowl.
Sam S. Willaman
Years coached: 1929-33
Fun fact: While his Ohio State career was modest, Willaman resigned at the height of his success, choosing to leave after a near-perfect season.
Years coached: 1934-40
Fun fact: Players who receive Gold Pants for beating that school up north owe a lot to Schmidt. Those charms started as a result of his quote about Michigan: "They put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as we do!" (See more about the Gold Pants Club.)
Years coached: 1941-43
Fun fact: Best known as the namesake of the Cleveland Browns, Paul Brown coached at Ohio State for three years, forgoing a Rhodes Scholarship to coach in Maryland.
Years coached: 1944-45
Fun fact: Widdoes was the first Ohio State coach to be named Coach of the Year (1944) by the American Football Coaches Association.
Years coached: 1946
Fun fact: Bixler's career at Ohio State lasted only year. He went on to coach at Colgate for five years and then in the NFL.
Years coached: 1947-50
Fun fact: A former All-American at Ohio State, Fesler was known to hand out silver dollars to his players for good plays.
Years coached: 1950-78
Fun fact: Although best known by his nickname Woody, he was born in 1913 as Wayne Woodrow. (Hayes is the inspiration for the name of University Archives' blog, From Woody's Couch.")
Years coached: 1979-87
Fun fact: Still heavily involved in all things Ohio State, Bruce's first season was one for the record books--11-1, a win against Michigan, and a Big Ten Championship.
Years coached: 1988-2000
Fun fact: Cooper's career at Ohio State stands as one of the longest in Buckeye history--third behind Woody Hayes and John Wilce.
Years coached: 2001-10
Fun fact: Tressel was well known for beating that "team up north." His successful record: only one loss in nine seasons.
Years coached: 2011
Fun fact: During his time as a student-athlete, Fickell was the only player to play for 50 straight games under Coach John Cooper--an Ohio State record.
Years coached: 2012-?
Fun fact: Meyer grew up in Ohio and idolized Buckeye football. In high school, he chose to play with No. 45 to honor Buckeye legend Archie Griffin.