Obituary: John HIcks, Ohio State’s 1973 Outland Trophy winner

John Hicks won the FWAA’s Outland Trophy in 1973. He is one of four Ohio State players to claim the Outland Trophy. Jim Parker (1956), Jim Stillwagon (1970) and Orlando Pace (1996) are the others.

October 30, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ohio State Contacts: Jerry Emig (614-203-2766 and emig.2@osu.edu);

Adam Widman (614-572-6903 and widman.12@osu.edu)

Buckeye Family Loses a Legend: All-Time Great John Hicks

Woody Hayes called Hicks “the greatest interior lineman I have ever coached”

COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Hicks, a two-time All-American and major award winner and undeniably one of the most outstanding Ohio State football players of all time, died Saturday after a long illness. Hicks’ wife, Cindy, contacted the Department of Athletics with the news. He was 65.

An offensive guard from Cleveland’s John Hay High School, Hicks was a three-year starter for Woody Hayes-coached teams that won Big Ten Conference championships in 1970, 1972 and 1973 and advanced to the Rose Bowl in each of those seasons. Hicks was the first player to start in three Rose Bowls and in 2009 he was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

“I was stunned and saddened to hear the news of John Hicks’ passing,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He was truly one of the all-time greats for this university who was always good to this football program and the community. He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Freshmen were ineligible in 1969, Hicks’ first year on campus, but in 1970 he helped the Buckeyes to a 9-1 record, a 7-0 mark in the Big Ten, including a 20-9 win over Michigan, and the national championship as awarded by the National Football Foundation.

Ohio State was 3-1 in 1971 before a knee injury sidelined Hicks and caused him to miss the final six games of what would become a 6-4 campaign.

Hicks would come back stronger than ever. In 1972 he was a first-team All-American for an Ohio State team that went 9-2 and 7-1 in the Big Ten with a 14-11 victory over Michigan. This was the year he began paving the way to greatness for a freshman running back from Columbus named Archie Griffin.

In 1973 the Buckeyes were 10-0-1 with Hicks earning unanimous All-American honors. The Buckeyes were awarded the Rose Bowl berth after a 10-all tie with Michigan, and Hicks’ last game as a Buckeye was a 42-21 dismantling of USC in the 1974 Rose Bowl game.

Hicks made history in 1973. Not only was he a unanimous All-American, but he won both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the nation and he finished second – second! – in the Heisman Trophy voting to Penn State’s John Cappelletti. Teammates Griffin and linebacker Randy Gradishar were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Heisman voting that year.

Hicks would go on to become a first-round NFL Draft pick of the New York Giants, who he played for from 1974 to 1977.

Hicks was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. His careers after football included running his real estate development company and “paying forward” through community service initiatives such as the Boys and Girls Club of Central Ohio and the Central Ohio Diabetes Association.

Advertisements

Obituary: Lynne Draper, founder of the Thorpe Award

Lynne Draper, a member and supporter of the Football Writers Association of America for many years, died Thursday Oct. 27. He was one of the founders of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) of which the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award are members.

 

Funeral mass for Kensler will be Saturday in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Tom Kensler

Tom Kensler

Former FWAA board member Tom Kensler will be remembered Saturday Aug. 6 at memorial services in Colorado.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary Chapel, 12801 W. 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Kensler suffered a brain aneurysm on July 6 at his home in Arvada, Colo., and died on July 22.

Kensler, 64, retired after a long tenure at the Denver Post in June 2015. He had previously worked at newspapers in Oklahoma and Texas.

1958 Outland Trophy winner Zeke Smith passes away

Zeke Smith, 1958 winner of the Outland Trophy.

Zeke Smith, 1958 winner of the Outland Trophy.

Zeke Smith, winner of the FWAA’s Outland Trophy in 1958, died Friday at the age of 79.

Smith was a two-way player and a member of Auburn’s 1957 national championship team.

After Auburn, he played in the NFL in 1960 and 1961 and the CFL in 1962 and 1963. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.

Today Auburn’s top defensive player each season is given the Zeke Smith Award.

CLICK HERE to read Smith’s obituary at AuburnTigers.com.

Sportswriting legend Blackie Sherrod has died

Blackie Sherrod, president of the FWAA in 1963.

Blackie Sherrod, president of the FWAA in 1963.

Blackie Sherrod, president of the Football Writers Association of America in 1963 and winner of its Bert McGrane Award in 1985, died of natural causes Thursday afternoon at his home in Dallas. He was 96.

Sherrod, who was voted Texas Sportswriter of the Year a record 16 times and was honored with the prestigious Red Smith Award, was remembered by one of his former newspapers, The Dallas Morning News, as the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation or any other.

Click here to read The Morning News’ obituary.

 

Max Maisel memorial service 2

On behalf of Meg and our daughters, I want to thank everyone in the FWAA community who has reached out to us over the last three weeks since our son Max went missing. We presume he drowned on Feb. 22. The care and concern of so many writers and SIDs across the country has helped us cope with the unfathomable.

We are having a memorial service and a celebration of Max’s life on Friday, March 27 at Congregation Bnai Israel in Bridgeport, CT. If anyone is interested in attending, please contact me at Ivan.Maisel@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Ivan Maisel

Late NCAA statistician, FWAA member leaves behind Notre Dame football archive

Steve Boda was a giant of a man in the relatively mundane world of sports number-gathering and statistic-crunching. He never sought the spotlight, but in a lot of ways, he created it.

For 40 years, Boda, a long-time FWAA member, was a statistician and researcher at the NCAA. On the side, during evenings at home, he created what may  be the most extensive Notre Dame football history ever assembled.

Boda, who died with little public notice at age 90 last Nov. 14, had one wish — that those files, now locked up in a Stilwell, Kan., storage park — go to Notre Dame.

Click here to read the entire story by Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.

 

Long-time Nebraska SID Don Bryant dies

Former Nebraska SID Don Bryant.

Former Nebraska SID Don Bryant.

Don Bryant, known affectionately as “the Fat Fox,” died Friday at age 85.

Bryant, the 1998 winner of the FWAA’s Bert McGrane Award, was sports editor of The Lincoln Star from 1954 until Nebraska athletic director and football coach Bob Devaney hired Bryant as sports information director in 1962.  Later Bryant served as associated athletic director from 1976 until he retired in 1997.

Click here to read the entire story by Ken Hambleton of the Lincoln Journal Star.