Who’s on the NW Ohio Mt. Rushmore of Sports?Written by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In its latest attempt to generate meaningless debate on the Internet, ESPN.com launched a new feature last month called “Mt. Rushmore Of Sports.” The premise was that readers voted for the four main sports icons from each state, and the top four vote-getters will be likely illustrated in some fashion. For example, Ohio’s Mt. Rushmore of Sports was Jesse Owens, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, and Jack Nicklaus. Michigan’s turned out to be Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Barry Sanders and Joe Louis. So which of those two imaginary monuments is better? Well, yes, ESPN is raising the level of debate and arguing that point as well.
I looked and looked, and strangely enough they didn’t do a Northwest Ohio Mt. Rushmore of Sports. (I know!) They clearly must not care. So I guess it’s up to this columnist to come up with a worthy set nominees. The criteria is simple; either the sports figure has to be born and/or raised in Northwest Ohio or have made a strong impact in Northwest Ohio athletics.
- Christine Brennan, Toledo native and sports columnist for USA Today, making her the most widely read female sports columnist in the country.
- Chuck Ealey, who went 35-0 as UT’s quarterback from 1969-71, also won the CFL’s Grey Cup in his first year as a professional quarterback.
- Jamie Farr, if not for internationally popularizing the Mud Hens, or for hosting an LPGA tournament in Sylvania for the last 20 years, then to put him on the monument so out-of-towners don’t gawk and say, “Where’s Jamie Farr?”
- Scott Hamilton, Bowling Green native, gold medal winner in figure skating at the 1984 Olympic.s
- Ed Heintschel, won over 500 games as St. John’s Jesuit’s boys basketball coach.
- Mike Hessman, Mud Hens’ all-time leader in home runs (117) and rbi (296) in the modern era.
- Jimmy Jackson, Macomber High School product, had an outstanding college career at Ohio State and played for 73 teams in his 14-year NBA career. (OK, it was more like 12 teams, but who’s counting?)
- Dick Kazmaier, Toledo native, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1951 as tailback for Princeton University.
- Kim Knuth-Klaer, UT women’s basketball all-time leading scorer (2,509 points), as well as the MAC’s all-time leading scorer.
- Jim Leyland, Perrysburg native and Detroit Tigers manager; won a World Series in 1997.
- Bob Nichols, who coached UT men’s basketball for 22 seasons (376-212) and led team to its last Sweet 16 appearance in 1979, had Savage Arena’s new court named after him.
- Doyt Perry, BGSU football coach for 10 seasons (77-11-5) and College Football Hall of Fame member, namesake of BGSU’s admittedly unimpressive football stadium.
- Greg Stempin, fourth all-time scorer and sixth all-time rebounder in UT men’s basketball history, also the holder of perhaps the most mesmerizing dunk in Savage Arena history, against Ohio State in 1999
- Nate Thurmond, BGSU men’s basketball player and Basketball Hall of Famer, the guy who allows me to brag that BGSU has more Hall of Fame basketball players than Duke.
Now, I’m sure I omitted tons of deserving candidates — especially high school players and coaches, many of whom can run, throw and catch better than I. In fact, I highly expect several comments and e-mails setting me straight on some obscure 1930s high school legend from, say, Holgate, and that I am an idiot for leaving them out. It’s true, I am an idiot for leaving “said high school legend” out of the list, but anyone anybody can name in the comments is immediately a candidate for consideration on the Northwest Ohio Mt. Rushmore of Sports.
Stop by next week when I actually take the next bold step and brazenly name the four icons of Northwest Ohio sports. Cash bribes are currently being accepted.
Sorry, no personal checks.
Matt Sussman blogs regularly at www.toledofreepress.com.
Who did Matt forget to nominate?
What NW Ohio sports legend did Matt Sussman forget to nominate for “Mt. Rushmore?” Frank Gilhooley? Moses Fleetwood Walker? Mike Eruzione? Casey Stengel? Joe Napoli? Orris Tabner? Sam Hornish? Dave Woolford? Leave your choice in a comment here for Matt to consider for next week.