Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame inducted 12 former OSU athletes and coaches as the class of 2012 on Friday, a class headlined by the Hall of Fame’s first-ever inductee in the lifetime achievement category, Bob Knight.
Knight was inducted alongside five former OSU football players, a fencer, a basketball player, two wrestlers, a track and field athlete and a women’s volleyball coach.
Knight is best known for his success at universities other than OSU. With 902 career victories between coaching stints at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, Knight has the second-most, all-time wins for any NCAA Division I men’s basketball head coach, and also won three NCAA titles at Indiana.
Before coaching, however, Knight played three years on the OSU varsity men’s basketball team, then coached by Fred Taylor, from 1959-1962, which included winning the 1960 national championship.
Knight, who graduated from OSU in 1962 with a degree in history and government, said his time at OSU helped him build a successful coaching career.
“I think the thing that helped me or prepared me from a coaching standpoint was playing here,” Knight said. “Being able to start out as a freshman with a coach like Frank Truitt, and then to watch (former OSU men’s basketball coach Fred) Taylor and see how Coach Taylor did things, and then eventually playing under him, I couldn’t have had a better experience going into coaching than that, and that just wasn’t being at Ohio State, but that was with the coaches that were here.”
Knight said that even with all of his accomplishments, Friday’s induction was a special honor.
“This is really special. To me, first of all, it was a special idea,” Knight said. “This is as special to me as anything that’s ever been done on my behalf for coaching.”
Other inductees also thought it was special to be in the same Hall of Fame class as Knight.
“When they said Bob Knight is going to be getting the honor … I really was really excited about it,” said Ray Griffin, a former OSU football player and fellow inductee in the class of 2012. “I think that that is truly a big deal, and Bob Knight is a coach that I truly admired for many, many years.”
Ohio State football well-represented
Among the 12 OSU legends inducted on Friday, who were also recognized during halftime of the OSU football game versus California on Saturday, five of them were former football standouts.
The most well-known name among them might be Mike Vrabel, who did not attend Friday’s ceremonies, but was instead with the current OSU football team preparing for Saturday’s game as the team’s defensive line coach. Vrabel, who played at OSU from 1993 to 1996, was a two-time All-American.
Griffin, the brother of two-time Heisman Trophy winner and former OSU running back Archie Griffin, was a safety at OSU from 1974 to 1977, and was a first-team All-American in 1977. He started his career alongside fellow inductee Pete Cusick, who played defensive tackle for the Buckeyes from 1972 to 1974, and was a first-team All-American in 1974. Joining Vrabel, Ray Griffin and Cusick in the class of 2012 were Dick Schafrath, an offensive tackle from 1956 to 1958, and two-way athlete Joseph Gailus, a two-time All-American who played for OSU from 1931 to 1933.
Ray Griffin and Cusick both described what it meant to each of them to be inducted.
“Ohio State has one of the richest tradition in sports, and to be inducted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame is very tremendous, so that’s why it means a lot to me,” Ray Griffin said.
Cusick said he felt similarly.
“It’s obviously a great honor to be affiliated with an institution like Ohio State and its success,” Cusick said. “All the people that have gone before, it’s very humbling, very proud of it, but it just kind of goes with the territory when you come to Ohio State. To be one of the fortunate ones to be selected to the Hall of Fame in a great institution, it’s almost indescribable.”
Rounding out the Hall of Fame class
The 2012 Hall of Fame class also included a competitor in the 2012 London Olympics in fencer Louise Bond-Williams. Bond-Williams, who represented the host nation Great Britain at the Olympic Games, was a three-time All-American from 2002 to 2004 in women’s sabre at OSU.
George Downes, OSU’s first-ever national champion in wrestling in 1940, was also inducted along with fellow wrestler Rex Holman, a two-time All-American in 1992 to 1993 and also a 1993 NCAA national champion.
Jessica Davenport was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Year and three-time All-American during her time as a women’s basketball star at OSU from 2004 to 2007. Keturah Lofton was a three-time women’s track and field All-American, and former OSU school record holder in both the hammer throw and weight throw.
Also inducted was Jim Stone, who coached the OSU women’s volleyball from 1982 to 2007 compiling a 531-294 overall record over his 26 seasons, and twice led the Buckeyes to the NCAA national semifinals.