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Bridgeport native thinks Meyer will succeed

December 1, 2011
By KIM NORTH - Times Leader Sports Writer (knorth@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

An Ohio Valley native who works in Florida thinks Urban Meyer's hiring at The Ohio State University is a perfect fit.

Bill Koss, a Bridgeport High School graduate who works as the University of Florida Gators men's basketball analyst for Sun Sports and Fox Sports, knew the Buckeyes' new gridiron guru when the two were in Gainesville.

"I think for him being from Ohio and to be named head football coach at Ohio State is a dream come true," Koss said in a recent telephone interview from Orlando. "Being a former Buckeye, he's been around the athletic programs from Fred Taylor (basketball) and Woody Hayes (football) to now.

Koss has no doubt that Meyer will bring the Buckeyes back to national prominence.

"The thing about Urban is that he is very attentive to details," Koss said of the former two-time national champion while leading the Gators. "That guy really pays attention to all the little things, and that's important. That is what separated him and his staff from everyone else when he was in Florida.

"He'll get things going in the right direction. He put his heart and soul into the University of Florida, and being from Ohio, I can see him doing that in Columbus, as well," Koss added.

AS mentioned above, my conversation with Koss took place while he was in the middle of the Sunshine State preparing for the Gators' game with Stetson last Monday at the brand-new Amway Center, which is now home to the NBA's Orlando Magic.

"This building is beautiful," Koss said of the state-of-the-art arena, which has a basketball seating capacity of 20,000 and is used for various other events.

Florida won the game handily, thus presenting youthful head coach Billy Donovan his 400th career victory.

According to Koss, the win made Donovan the youngest active coach to reach that milestone.

Having ties in the Buckeye State and the Sunshine State, I asked Koss if he had the opportunity to broadcast the Florida at Ohio State men's basketball game earlier this season, in which the Scarlet-and-Gray prevailed.

"No. It all depends upon ESPN and that game was on their major network," he explained. "I've had the opportunity to do some other games for them, but not at that (high of a) level."

While conversing with the UofF Athletic Hall of Famer, I brought up the name of former Florida hoops coach Lon Kruger, who is in his first season as head coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Kruger, who was the focal point of a book written by Koss titled "Pond Birds" that provided a comprehensive look at the Gators' program through the years.

Prior to coming to the Sooners, Kruger coach at UNLV during the 2010-11 season.

Late last Saturday night in the "City That Doesn't Sleep," the Runnin' Rebels knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina, 90-80, while most of us were sound asleep.

"The nine players that played in that game for UNLV were recruited by Lon," Koss was quick to point out. "I'm sure he was proud of them. He didn't leave the cupboard bare, that's for sure."

Buckeyes' Blowout a Surprise?

Being a die-hard fan of both the Duke and Ohio State men's basketball programs, I was torn between my beloved Blue Devils and Buckeyes Tuesday night as they waged battle in Columbus.

Yes, I was surprised that No. 2 Ohio State was able to dominate the game like they did from, virtually, the opening tip. People had said the Buckeyes hadn't played anyone this season, which is true with the exception of Florida, so they were out to make a statement.

And what a better way to make a statement than whipping the the No.3/4 Blue Devils on a national stage (ESPN).

However, I wasn't surprised for the fact that Duke was playing its first game on the mainland since capturing its fifth Maui Classic in Hawaii Islands.

There's just something about going from the sand-filled beaches of Hawaii to a frosty Columbus.

If the basketball Gods have their way, these two could meet somewhere down the road during March Madness. Should that happen, then I'd catch myself rooting for the Blue Buckeyes or the Buck Devils.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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