ALL THE attention won't be on football Saturday during the Ohio State-California game at the Horseshoe, because one of the most successful collegiate basketball coaches in history and a former teammate of Lansing native and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek will be among those recognized at halftime.
Bob Knight, a member of the 1960 NCAA Champion OSU men's basketball team and later a noted collegiate basketball coach, will be among the 12 outstanding former student-athletes introduced at the game. A recipient of a lifetime achievement honor, Knight will be enshrined in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame at a dinner tonight.
In addition to Havlicek, Knight was on the 1960 team with Jerry Lucas, who received numerous honors including his selection as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. Coaching the Ohio State team was the legendary Fred Taylor, and five team members went on to play pro basketball.
Knight, who is memorable for yelling at officials and throwing chairs when coaching the Indiana Hoosiers, isn't subdued when he talks about his regard for OSU.
"I have probably been as big a fan of Ohio State athletics as I was when I was in school or as a kid," said the former Orrville resident. "The football and basketball team scores are the first I look for."
Noting he enjoyed his days at OSU, Knight said, "I always talk about my background there and the coaches and players I encountered at Ohio State."
The lifetime achievement category was created earlier this year to honor outstanding former Buckeyes who have excelled in their careers after leaving OSU.
Knight, who is in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, finished his 41-year coaching career with a 902-371 record at Indiana, Army and Texas Tech. He led the Hoosiers to three NCAA titles, 11 Big Ten championships and was the conference's coach of the year eight times.
His career wins total is second only to Duke's Mike Krzyewski, a protege of Knight who last year became the NCAA career wins leader.
Although Knight is lifetime achievement award recipient for his efforts in baskeball, football isn't being ignored in the 2012 HofF inductees. Five are football players, and it's evident that one of them - Mike Vrabel - will have double duty Saturday.
Not only will Vrabel be recognized at halftime of the game, but he has defensive line coaching duties during the game. It's his second year as an Ohio State assistant coach, a post he assumed after a distinguished NFL career. His 14 seasons in the NFL included winning three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, and he was named All-Pro in 2007.
Vrabel is considered one of the great defensive linemen at OSU and in the history of the Big Ten Conference. He was named Big Ten Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1995 and 1996 and was the first to win that award twice.
Other former football players being honored and the years that they played for OSU are Pete Cusick, a three-year starter from 1972-74; Ray Griffin, a three-year starter and four-year Varsity O letterwinner for OSU from 1974-77; Joseph Gailus, a three-year starter who played both offense and defense from 1931-33 and Richard Schafrath, an offense tackle and defense end from 1956-58, was on teams that won the 1957 national championship and the Rose Bowl in 1958 and was team captain in 1958. Cusick, Griffin and Schafrath all played in the pros.
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