Roots in O-H-I-O: All current FBS head coaches with ties to Ohio State or the state of Ohio – Buckeyes Wire

Posted: February 17, 2021 at 5:52 pm


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There arent too many states that have more football tradition than the great state of Ohio. The sport is ingrained in the Buckeye States culture. High school football is a religion, and Ohio State football is a way of life. Heck, even the Pro Football Hall of Fame sits between Lake Erie and the Ohio River, in Canton.

Given that background, many of the most influential people in the game have deep roots in Ohio. From former great coaches, to administrators, to media personalities, Ohio natives can be found across the American football landscape.

Some of those influential people are head coaches, of course, and not just at the lower levels. You might be surprised how many current FBS coaches once coached on the banks of the Olentangy or in the state during their coaching career. Or, they were born or played football in Ohio.

Since its the college football offseason, we thought it would be a fun exercise to take a look at FBS head coach that once stomped around somewhere in Ohio. So here it goes

Born: Columbus, Ohio High School: Desales

Besides being born and playing his high school ball in Columbus, Luke Fickell once coached at Ohio State as the interim head coach when Jim Tressel got in hot water. He later served as the defensive coordinator, under Urban Meyer. He played and started for the Buckeyes as a nose tackle from 1993-1996. Now hes making Cincinnati into one of the best Group of Five programs out there.

Born: Montvale, New Jersey College: Siena

Hafleys time at Ohio State was short-lived, but it earned him the head job at Boston College. He was brought to Columbus to fix a porous defense, and turned things around in one year (2019) before getting his opportunity at Chestnut Hill.

Born: Cleveland, Ohio High School: Cleveland Heights

Michigan State loves former Ohio State coaches. Mel Tucker replaced another former Buckeye when Mark Dantonio rode off into the sunset. Tucker was the defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel from 2001-2004. He is also an Ohio native, born and raised.

Born: Sugar Grove, Illinois College: Northern Illinois

Before P.J. Fleck began rowing his boat, he pushed it off the shore as a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel at Ohio State in 2006. Listen to him talk about those that were most influential in his coaching career, and Tressel comes up early and often.

Born: Manchester, New Hampshire College: New Hampshire

OK. Yeah, we went there. Look, its a piece about current FBS head coaches that once did their thing on the sidelines in Columbus. Ryan Day is an FBS head coach and currently coaches YOUR Ohio State Buckeyes. Urban Meyer brought him there in 2017 as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was elevated to head coach when Meyer retired.

Born: Wyckoff, New Jersey College: Bucknell

Greg Schiano has been at all levels of the game from his first stop at Rutgers to the NFL with Tampa Bay and now back to the Scarlet Knights for a second stint. We cant quite count Tennessee as a stop because of all the crazy chaos of being hired then not being hired via Twitter (howd that work out), but in-between, he was the defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer from 2016-2018.

Born: Fairmont, West Virginia College: Kent State

Before Nick Saban was winning SEC and national titles, he was putting his work in as an assistant at various programs. One of those stops included a stint as the defensive backs coach under Earle Bruce at Ohio State from 1980-81. Before that, his collegiate playing career took place in the state at Kent State.

Born: Massillon, Ohio High School: Massillon Perry College: Mount Union

Matt Campbell has the state of Ohio running through his veins. He was born and played his high school football in the crazed football town of Massillon, and played collegiately for one of the Division III powerhouses, Mount Union. He is doing his thing at Iowa State, but hes an Ohio guy through and through.

Born: Elyria, Ohio High School: Elyria

Les Miles might have played for Michigan, but he was one of the Ohio guys that got away. He was born and played his high school football in the northeast city of Elyria and went on to famously win a national championship as the head coach of LSU. We can probably forget about his Kansas stint, but hes still an Ohio guy.

Born: Toledo, Ohio College: Michigan

Yeah, OK. Harbaugh may be a punching bag when it comes to jokes from Ohio State fans, but he was born in Ohio. In fact, he was born at the same hospital as Urban Meyer. Its a loose tie to the state, but one nonetheless before he became all Maize and Blue.

Born: Sidney, Ohio College: Florida State

Stockstill may have grown up in Florida, but he was born just 45 minutes or so north of Dayton in western Ohio. Thats about the extent of the anchor to the Buckeye state, but a place of birth is pretty big, no?

Born: Columbus, Ohio High School: Upper Arlington

Dimels playing and coaching career may have taken him far from central Ohio, but he was born in Columbus and played his high school ball at Upper Arlington, where he graduated in 1981. It had to be a surreal experience when he was head coach of Wyoming and brought his Cowboys to the Shoe to play the Buckeyes in 1997. Now he is at UTEP, where hes been leading the charge since 2018.

Born: Westlake, Ohio High School: Cleveland St. Ignatius College: John Carroll

They are plenty. One wonders if Arth has ever left the state. He was born, played high school, went to college, and now coaches an Ohio team. We dont know where his career will go from here, but hes about as Ohio as you can get.

Born: Barberton, Ohio High School: Barberton

Loeffler played for Michigan, likely because he is from the same hometown as legendary coach Bo Schembechler. Thats right, even Bo was an Ohio guy from Barberton, Ohio. Schoeffler now leads Bowling Green in Northwest Ohio as the head coach.

Born: Salem, Ohio High School: Upper Arlington

Candle was not only born in Ohio, but played his college football at national Division III powerhouse Mount Union. He stayed within the state of Ohio when he was brought on to be the head coach of Toledo in 2016.

Born: Dayton, Ohio High School: Fairmont East

We all remember the failed stint at Michigan from 2011 to 2014, but Hoke has had a pretty good coaching career outside of that (and, hey, at least he had one win over Ohio State in 2011). Hoke is a Michigan man for sure, but he was born and played his high school football in the state to the south.

Born: Youngstown, Ohio High School: Cardinal Mooney

Stoops obviously comes from a football family out of Northeast Ohio. His brother Bob is one of the best college coaches of all time, and his other brother Mike is the former head coach of Arizona. The trio was born in Youngstown and all played high school ball there.

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Roots in O-H-I-O: All current FBS head coaches with ties to Ohio State or the state of Ohio - Buckeyes Wire

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February 17th, 2021 at 5:52 pm

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