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By Matt McCoy
Moments after Ohio State announced that former Buckeye football coach John Cooper was part of its 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame class, I sent out the information via Twitter. Within minutes, the first two responses were: "2-10-1" and "Ohio State's Hall of Fame? Should be Michigan's."
Despite his 13 year career at Ohio State which included 111 wins, three Big Ten titles, victories in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, two number two finishes and five finishes in the top 10, what Cooper is best remembered for is 2-10-1. Just like 610 WTVN football analyst Stan Jackson is best remembered for his two interception game at Michigan in 1997...Stan's only two INT's that season. For many Buckeye faithful, the only part of their bodies of work that matter are the losses to the Wolverines and for that reason, those fans believe the Ohio State Hall of Fame is the last place Cooper should be.
"He absolutely deserves to be in (the OSU Hall of Fame)," Jackson said. "I tend to believe that Coach Cooper's has gotten a bad rap. Fans are very emotional and passionate about the rivalry and you want to win that game but unfortunately, we weren't able to get that done. He does have only two wins against Michigan, that's something he regrets, I regret, and we all regret through the 90's but when you step back and you look at how he was able to take the program and move it up a notch when it comes to national prominence, I think that was fantastic."
Cooper produced 22 first team All-Americans during his 13 years at Ohio State, 16 first round draft picks and a Heisman Trophy winner in Eddie George.
"One of his greatest strengths was he was able to evaluate talent like few coaches around the country," Jackson said. "And he made sure he not only kept the brightest and the best in Ohio, but he reached out across the country."
The anti-Cooper contingent like to say he's not a "true Buckeye," yet after being fired in 2000, Cooper stayed in Columbus and remained part of the community. He also remained supportive of the football program during the Jim Tressel era and now, Urban Meyer's.
"Obviously I'm a little biased. He gave me an opportunity to play quarterback at Ohio State and I'll always appreciate him for that," Jackson said. "Outside of that he's a genuinely nice guy...I'm really happy for him."
So am I. He'll be inducted into the Hall September 27th and will be recognized the next night at halftime of the Ohio State/Wisconsin game.
To listen to Stan Jackson talk about his former coaches Hall of Fame election click HERE:
Speaking of genuinely nice guys, former Buckeye basketball star Scoonie Penn is part of the Hall of Fame class as well.
Scoonie teamed with Michael Redd to produce one of the greatest turnarounds in college basketball history. With Penn sitting out after transferring from Boston College, the 1997-98 Buckeyes won only eight games. A year later, Penn led the Buckeyes to 27 wins and an apperance in the Final Four. And as electric as Penn was on the court, he was that engaging and classy off of it..and he still is.
Congratulations to Scoonie, Coop and the other 12 new members to the Buckeye Hall of Fame.
By Matt McCoy
Urban Meyer had a specialist in the 2013 recruiting class until the very last day. Johnny Townsend, a top punter from Florida, did a last minute switcheroo and signed with the Gators. Ever since, the staff has been searching for a punter and a kicker. They've found both now.
Last week, OSU landed Australian Punter Cameron Johnston and Tuesday the Buckeyes found a kicker for the 2014 recruiting class in Sean Nuernberger out of Kentucky.
Nurenberger, who was born in Germany, is out of Buckner, Kentucky. He visited Ohio State's kicking and punting camp over the weekend and apparently impressed. Nurenberger, announced his commitment via Twitter Tuesday when he wrote: "It's done! Officially committed to play football for THE Ohio State University! #BUCKEYENATION."
Nurenberger is the 10th commitment in the 2014 recruiting class. You can check out his YouTube kicking video here.
Basebrawl in L.A.
The L.A. Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 Tuesday night but the result of the game is not what is in the headlines. It's the brawl. The two teams were involved in not one but two bench clearing incidents.
It started when Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy threw inside to L.A. rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. The pitch hit Puig in the head, grazing his face. The youngster was okay but the Dodgers took note.
L.A. pitcher Zach Grienke retaliated the next inning, drilling Arizona catcher Miguel Montero in the back. That emptied the benches and both teams drew warnings.
It didn't matter to Kennedy who the next inning, hit Grienke in the head. Kennedy was ejected immediately and the benches emptied again--this time for several minutes. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was also ejected as was bench coach Turner Ward.
Three Dodgers were kicked out as well. Puig, hitting coach Mark McGwire and Ronald Belesario. All three had to be restrained, at different times, during the second bench clearing incident. It did get a little nasty for a while but fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
Courtesy of mlb.com, here's video featuring the beanball war as well as an angry Dodgers manager Don Mattingly following the game.
By Matt McCoy
Photo courtesy of Associated Press
A social media debate was created Monday when former Bengals receiver Chad Johnson was sentenced to 30 days in jail for probation violation in a domestic violence case.
Johnson had reached a deal with prosecutors calling for community service and counceling but Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh rejected it when Johnson playfully slapped his attorney on the behind -- much like a football player would -- as if to say 'good job.'
The courtroom broke out into laughter but Judge McHugh did not find any humor, telling Johnson 'this isn't a joke.' To get the message across, Johnson was sent to jail.
Did she overreact or was she right? The Twitter and Facebook discussion had opinions on both sides. I find myself siding with the Judge McHugh. There's a time and a place for everything. Yes--football players slap each other on the rear for appreciation, but this wasn't a football field, it was a court of law. Act like it.
As a football player, I was mixed on Johnson. I found some of his antics entertaining but he was also an enormous distraction and was clearly a 'look at me' player.
Maybe the sentence was harsh but maybe a 'look at me' guy like Johnson needs a harsh lesson to learn that you can't laugh off everything. If you haven't seen it, here's the video. What do you think?
Jent Heads Back To the NBA
After two seasons on the Buckeye basketball coaching staff, former Ohio State player Chris Jent is heading back to the NBA.
Jent, who came to OSU after serving on the Cleveland Cavaliers staff, will be an assistant for new Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone. The two were assistants together with the Cavs during the LeBron James era.
"There are a lot of things Chris Jent brought to the table that Ohio State is going to miss, one is his ability to recruit...having worked with LeBron James gets the attention of high school players," 610 WTVN basketball analyst Tony White said. "But maybe the biggest thing Ohio State is going to miss is his ability to interact with the players. I think he spoke their language and they understood that he was looking out for their best interest."
With Jent gone, Thad Matta begins the search for a replacement. Perhaps he won't look very far. Former Duke point guard Greg Paulus has been on staff as video coordinator and is well liked by the players. He could wind up being promoted to a full time assistant.
To hear all of Tony White's comments on the Jent move click HERE:
Other Hoops Headlines
In case you missed it over the weekend, Bob Baptist of the Dispatch was the first to report that Matta and the Buckeyes landed a new recruit.
6'5 guard D'Angelo Russell out of Louisville committed to Matta's 2014 class. If you believe the recruiting rankings, Russell is a good one. He's rated as the 24th best prospect in the nation. He joins a class that also includes forward Keita Bates-Diop from Bloomington, Illinois, guard Jae'sean Tate from Pickerington Central and big man David Bell of Garfield Heights.
Where's the Fog Horn?
If you missed Monday night's Reds win over the Cubs, check out what it was like. Fog rolled into Chicago but the two teams were able to play through it. That was not the case on the South side of Chicago where the White Sox game with Toronto was delayed for more than an hour because of fog. The outfielders there could not see fly balls off the bat.
By Matt McCoy
Truth be told, recruiting is not one of my favorite subjects. It's a necessary evil in Columbus, Ohio where Buckeye Football is king, that we spend some time covering it on WTVN...but I wish I could ignore it.
In today's world, recruiting websites and scouting services have become big business, making national stars of 16 and 17 year old kids who have scholarship offers to big time programs. What often happens is monsters are created. Kids who aren't mature enough to handle the spotlight, are thrust into it, grow massive egos and speak and act like buffons.
Exhibit A is K.C. McDermott, a highly rated offensive lineman from Palm Beach Central High School in Florida. McDermott committed to the Miami Hurricanes in April but other programs, including Ohio State, continued to have interest.
In a recent interview with the Bleacher Report, McDermott tells the tale of meeting with and turning down Urban Meyer.
"The Urban Meyer thing was funny to me," McDermott told Bleacher Report. "I told him no to his face and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office and laugh....It litterally looked like a kid the first time you tell him 'no, you can't do something.' It looked like (Meyer) was a bady about to cry. It was so funny."
The story of McDermott's rejection ended up going national last week, with cbssports.com and others picking it up because of the juicy quotes about Meyer.
"My initial reaction as always is I think we spend way too much time and energy on high school recruits," 610 WTVN Football analyst Stan Jackson said of McDermott's comments. "It's not an exact science. There's no guarantee that any kid, whether he's five-star or one star, is going to pan out to be anything. Sometimes I think we give them a little too much too fast."
I could not agree more with Stan. K.C. McDermott may be a whale of a football player and he may be a terrific kid...but right now, at age 17, he a) thinks he's better than he is...and b) clearly lacks maturity.
For anyone to show this much disrespect to any college football coach is mind boggling to me. What's happened in this era of football recruiting over coverage is that some kids become convinced that they are entitled superstars and they lose perspective on reality. K.C. McDermott is a 17 year old offensive lineman who has accomplished nothing in college football, yet his ego has stroked by fans and bloggers to the point that he believes his bigger than the game and he's bigger than the coaches.
I hope for his sake he's brought back down to earth. I hope he has parents or some authority figure who tells him you do no speak about or to adults in this manner. I hope there's a really good kid in there that can learn and become a good example to others because right now he's nothing more than an arrogant blowhard.
To listen to Stan Jackson's comments on the McDermott story click HERE:
Votto's nifty flip
The Reds lost two of three over the weekend to St. Louis, but in their one win, Saturday night, Joey Votto and Matt Latos combined on a smooth defensive play. Votto fielded a Matt Carpenter grounder, flipped the ball behind his back toward first where Latos caught it bare handed for the out. If you missed it, check it out.
James Block Party
I mentioned in sports Monday morning with Joel that even though LeBron James didn't have his best offensive game he still made the play of the game, blocking San Antonio big man Tiago Splitter. It led to a fast break and a 3-pointer the other way by Ray Allen. If you missed the sequence, check it out.