stahl_floydI moved to Columbus, Ohio from New York in 1979 (age 13) and I knew very little about the tradition of Ohio State. It didn’t take very long for me to realize that in order to fit in, I had to become an Ohio State fan so that is exactly what I did.  It took another 8 years for me to truly learn exactly what being “a Buckeye” was all about.

In 1987, I began a friendship that has lasted until today. As I got to know Chris Stahl, I learned that his grandfather had been a “coach” at Ohio State and that he and his family were very patriotic Buckeye fans. They began inviting me to go to Football games with them and that experience was very different from the games I had attended previously. Grandpa Stahl worked the time-clock at the Horseshoe and Chris and his parents had 4 seats near the 45 yard line on B-deck. The seats were right behind Ann Hayes and Head Basketball Coaches Gary Williams and Randy Ayers and many other “VIP’s”.  I realized that Grandpa Stahl was one of those “VIP’s” and in 8 years of knowing and speaking to the man, I also learned what “being a Buckeye” truly meant.

Floyd Stahl was (at different times) Head Baseball Coach, Assistant football coach, Head Basketball Coach, Head Golf Coach, and Asst. Athletic Director at Ohio State.  He is also a member of  the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame.  He was also Head Baseball and Basketball Coach at Harvard University and lead Harvard to an Elite 8 appearance in the NCAA tournament. Despite all those accomplishments, he never really discussed many of the things that occurred on the field. He liked to talk about “paying it forward” and how he took pride in his players succeeding and becoming professionals. 

This left an impression on me; a man with so many accomplishments who could talk about himself for hours and chose to talk about his former players and where they lived, what professions they had chosen, and how his advice had helped them in their lives. Then I knew what “being a Buckeye” truly meant. I saw first hand how much this man meant to people at his funeral in 1996. There were Mayors, former and current coaches, Heisman winners and former players who had come to pay their respects. They all talked about how Coach Stahl helped them in their personal lives and preached education and family. It was my honor and privilege to know this man and to have received some small amount of his wisdom.

I will always remember him playing a round of golf with my friend and I at the Gahanna Golf course well into his 90’s and absolutely killing the ball off the tee and talking about his life and giving us the benefit of his advice.

Editor's Note: We want to thank Mitch for his contribution to our 'Buckeye Storytellers' feature, which is the first published under that title. If you have an Ohio State story to tell and would like to contribute it to Buckeye House Call, please don't hesitate to get into contact with me - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it