The Power of Ohio State Football on Alumni, Engagement, and Fans

The Power of Ohio State Football on Alumni, Engagement, and Fans

Ohio State Football is all about community. Often we think of a community as confined to a specific area. In the interconnected world of today, a community can extend its reach to all corners of the globe. That is Ohio State Football in a nutshell. A community of people with a shared passion… the Ohio State Buckeyes football program. And while many of these hyperconnected communities have gone worldwide, Buckeye football had this going well before Facebook and Twitter came on the scene. Why? Oh (io) there are a lot of reasons. And we are going to touch on many of them in this article. It starts with an incredibly large living alumni that is powered by a successful collegiate football program that goes back centuries.

Think about Ohio State, and you’re not just thinking about a school. You’re thinking about football, those insane moments in the Horseshoe, and how Buckeyes can’t help but bleed Scarlet and Gray. That’s the real deal. That’s what makes Ohio State, well, Ohio State.

In this piece, we’re exploring the power of Ohio State football–not on the field although that has something to do with it, but everything it touches. We’re going to look into how this university and this football program came into existence, how the coaches made an impact, and how the many moving parts created what we see today. We’re also going to talk about you, the fans, and the undeniable legacy you’ve left on this university and football program. This includes alumni, their families, Ohioans, and those that just fell for the Buckeyes for one reason or another. Together, we’ll see how the rise of Columbus, the boom in college football, and the expansion of Ohio State University are all part of a bigger story.

(This article is over 4,000 words because Ohio State Football demands them all. If you rather have a short summary or bullet point list, we have that too. See the end of the article for the TL;DR)

Ohio State University and the Origins of Its Football Program

In the heartland of America, The Ohio State University (OSU) took root. Its creation in 1870 was not simply the establishment of another higher education institution—it marked the beginning of an icon. Buckeye Nation.

Fast forward to today, and OSU is kind of a big deal. It’s a hub for educated folks, a place where athletes go to become legends, and it’s got a network of past students that literally spans the globe. But at the end of the day, it’s about being part of something, sharing in the rhythm of those fall Saturdays, and getting fired up about the scarlet and gray. This is an identity and it’s all tied up with football–a legacy that really got going in the late 1800s and was pushed to new heights by legends like Woody Hayes.

But let’s be clear: this wasn’t a simple journey. It took a bunch of commitment, some serious strategy, and a stubborn belief that this Ohio university could turn a simple sport into something that got people pumped.

In 1890, OSU pulled together its first football team. This was a time of change for the university, and that first team was more a group of excited amateurs than anything else. There weren’t any dedicated coaches back then, and their playing field? Just a simple patch of ground on the university’s land.

But the folks running the university made a bold move. They didn’t brush off football as just a passing fad, they saw it as a way to engage people, to bring the student body together, and to give them something to rally around. They got it–they understood that football could help build a collective identity.

At the same time, OSU made another important choice: to be inclusive in its approach to education. They flung their doors open to all sorts of students, and this was a big deal for the growth of the football program and the university’s brand. This diverse network of alumni became not just a financial backbone but also passionate ambassadors for the university, spreading Buckeye pride wherever they went.

As years went on, the blend of OSU’s inclusive stance and their love for football created a cycle that kept feeding itself. The football program pulled in students, and those students, after they graduated, expanded the alumni network. This, in turn, boosted the growth and reputation of both the university and its football program.

Then, in 1951, OSU brought in football coach Woody Hayes. This guy was a game changer–a top-notch strategist and relentless recruiter. He pushed Ohio State football from being a favorite pastime to a force to be reckoned with. The team’s victories under Hayes didn’t just fill trophy cases; they brought the Buckeye community closer together, fortifying the bond between alumni, students, and folks in Ohio.

So, let’s sum it up: OSU’s journey from its 1870 roots to mid-20th-century football glory and beyond is one hell of a story. It’s about making smart moves, taking calculated risks, and really understanding the power of community. It’s about a shared love of the game, and it’s a reminder that for the folks in Ohio, football isn’t just a game–it’s a way of life.

Ohio State Football and the Woody Hayes Era

If Ohio State University laid the groundwork, Woody Hayes built the castle. Hayes stepped up in 1951 and took over a promising football program. And under this guy? Well, let’s just say promise turned into massive football success.

The Hayes era was all about fresh thinking and a non-stop drive for being the best — this kicked Ohio State football up onto the national level. Hayes didn’t just sit back and watch the game; he was more like a master craftsman, turning his team into a football machine that demanded respect.

But what really stands out from Hayes’s time is the epic “Ten Year War” with the University of Michigan. This wasn’t just a series of football games — this was like a heavyweight title fight, a ten-year battle of wits that had the whole country hooked.

The “Ten Year War” kicked off in 1969 when Bo Schembechler, one of Hayes’s former assistants, became the head coach at Michigan (that team up north). This marked the start of a rivalry that would define college football for the next ten years (and to this day).

In Schembechler’s first game against his old mentor, Michigan pulled off a shocking victory against top-ranked Ohio State. This set the stage for the Ten-Year War. “The Game” had more than just the usual pride at stake – think conference titles, national championship dreams, and a whole lot of bragging rights.

This rivalry pulled in fans, students, and alumni from all over and gave them something to rally behind. Buckeye fans around the world couldn’t wait for the annual Ohio State-Michigan game. They sported their scarlet and gray with pride, threw big viewing parties, and rode the rollercoaster of joy or disappointment that came with each result.

In a way, the Ten-Year War was a branding masterpiece. It made Ohio State and Michigan the poster boys of top-tier college football, creating a narrative of “us versus them” that really brought the fans together. It gave them a shared goal, a common enemy, and a strong sense of togetherness.

Hayes was all about winning. Every game, every play, every call–it was all about getting the W. His leadership, and the success it brought on the field, did wonders for Ohio State’s brand. It attracted students, strengthened the alumni network, and created a proud army of lifelong Buckeye fans.

Today, the legacy of the Woody Hayes era, especially the Ten-Year War, still rings loud and clear — you can see it in the energy of the fans on gamedays, when the Buckeyes take the field at Ohio Stadium, and in the shared feeling that being part of Buckeye Nation is about more than football—it’s about being part of a tradition-rich, pride-filled community committed to excellence.

How Columbus Helped Shape the Buckeye Brand

Columbus, Ohio—it’s a city all about moving forward and trying new things. It went from being a little-known town to one of the major players in the U.S. That’s right, we’re talking about a city that’s loaded with business, culture, and learning opportunities. And yeah, it’s also the hometown of Ohio State University and a beloved football program.

The story of Columbus is kind of like the story of Ohio State football. They both started small, they both grew, and they both became big shots in their fields.

Columbus didn’t just wake up one day as a buzzing city. It took careful planning, smart investments, and faith in what the city could become. Today, Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., a thriving place with a booming economy, a lively arts scene, and a diverse population.

And this growth? It’s been a huge win for Ohio State University, and especially for the football program. A happening city draws in students and professors, encourages new ideas, and makes college life even more exciting. Plus, it’s a boost for the economy, which in turn supports education and infrastructure.

As Columbus has grown, so has Ohio State’s reputation and resources. The university, once a simple land-grant school, is now a globally respected research university known for its academics and sports. It’s using its increased resources to bring in top-notch professors, push research initiatives, improve its facilities, and pump up its football program.

Ohio State football has definitely reaped the rewards of the city’s growth. High-profile football programs need to be seen, and a growing city helps with that. Every game at the massive Ohio Stadium—aka the ‘Horseshoe’—is not just a show but a sign of the city’s spirit, a big plus for the Buckeye brand.

Columbus’s growth has also meant more people and businesses coming in, which means more Buckeye fans. Combined with the unwavering loyalty of longtime residents and alumni, it’s made Buckeye Nation an ever-growing community that knows no city or state boundaries.

Lastly, Columbus’s rise has caught the national media’s attention, giving more exposure to Ohio State and its football program. This has helped attract top athletes, which only fuels the football program’s success even more.

In the big picture, the rise of Columbus shows what a community can do with ambition and grit. Its success has echoed through Ohio State University, lifting its academic standing, strengthening its sports prowess, and confirming its role as a uniting force for a diverse, passionate fan base. The Ohio State Buckeyes aren’t just a football team—they’re a symbol of a city’s spirit and growth.

The Rise of College Football

Talk about being at the right place at the right time. For the Ohio State University football program, the timing couldn’t have been more spot on. Just as the Buckeyes were making their mark, college football was having a major growth spurt. It was like the stars aligned—the rise of Ohio State football was happening right as college football was getting more and more popular in America.

When we talk about college football today, we’re talking about a nationwide event. It’s a much-loved tradition that pulls in millions of fans, makes billions in revenue, and is a stage for rising athletes to show their stuff.

But it wasn’t always like this. The early days of college football were small and local—think regional games with a handful of fans. The sport was just like Ohio State University back then, still figuring things out.

As the years rolled by, though, college football started to change. Better TV tech and more media coverage meant more people could watch the games. When games started getting shown on TV in the middle of the 20th century, college football really took off, getting fans from all over.

At the same time, the sport was getting more professional. Universities were putting more money into their football programs—they were hiring better coaches, updating their facilities, and bringing in top players. This just made the competition fiercer, the drama bigger, and the game better.

The increase in bowl games and the creation of the College Football Playoff system only made the sport more popular. These high-stakes games made every football season feel like a thrilling story that kept fans hooked from start to end.

In a way, the rise of college football and the success of Ohio State’s football program are like two sides of the same coin. They’re two stories that came together to create a spectacle that unites people through their love and pride for the game.

The skyrocketing popularity of college football has only made Ohio State’s wins more meaningful. It’s solidified the Buckeyes’ status as a top team, boosted their brand, and made the connection within Buckeye Nation even stronger. It’s a sign of a team and a sport that have together turned the fall season into a celebration.

Ohio State’s Coaches

Each successful organization, be it a business, a non-profit, or a football team, owes a substantial part of its success to its leadership. For Ohio State football, a succession of talented and dedicated coaches has steered the Buckeye ship through decades of change and competition, guiding the team to new heights with each passing era.

Earle Bruce stepped up after the great Woody Hayes, taking on a pretty impressive legacy. He did more than just fill those big shoes—he left his own mark during a nine-year run that included four Big Ten Conference titles and eight trips to bowl games. He set the stage for what was coming—years of hard work, discipline, and an iron-clad commitment to being the best.

Next up was John Cooper, who brought a fresh outlook and ramped up competitiveness. Cooper was the coach during a time when college football was getting more attention than ever, thanks to more media coverage and a bigger focus on national rankings. Sure, there were some bumps along the way, but Cooper’s time was marked by some big wins, including three Big Ten Championships and a ton of NFL draftees, reinforcing Ohio State’s reputation as a football powerhouse.

But when Jim Tressel came on board, things really started to change for the Buckeyes. Tressel was all about discipline, accountability, and planning. His time as coach saw the Buckeyes dominate their archrival, Michigan, and bring home a national championship in 2002. Even though his reign ended on a controversial note, Tressel had a huge impact on the program, strengthening the ties between the team, the university, and the massive alumni.

Then came Urban Meyer. Meyer is considered one of the greatest college football coaches ever. And he had a knack for spotting talent. Not only did Meyer keep the Buckeyes winning against Michigan (undefeated), he took the program to a whole new level. He was a recruiting powerhouse, bringing in top-tier athletes who would become big-time players. Meyer’s shining moment was winning the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship in 2014.

Now, the torch has been passed to Ryan Day—an innovative, forward-thinking coach with a sharp offensive mind. Day has already shown he’s up for the job, continuing the Buckeyes’ success with his strategic smarts and adaptability.

Each of these coaches—Bruce, Cooper, Tressel, Meyer, and Day—have left their mark on the Buckeye legacy. They’ve led Ohio State through years of major growth, stiff competition, and more attention than ever.  As the Ohio State football story continues to be written, these coaches form the foundation of the program’s long-lasting success. Thanks to their hard work, they’ve tightened the bond within the Ohio State community.

Ohio State Football’s Storied Success

Through the years, the Buckeyes have put together a record that’s pretty much a how-to guide for dominating the game. We’re talking conference titles, national championships, big game wins, record-smashing performances—the works. Ohio State consistently ranks among the winningest teams in college football history.

One of their biggest claims to fame is their performance in the Big Ten Conference. With a crazy number of conference titles, Ohio State’s reign over its rivals is pretty much unmatched. Most of the time, the road to the Big Ten championship runs right through Columbus—a nod to Ohio State’s long history of excellence.

And then there’s the rivalry with Michigan. Sure, the last couple of seasons have seen a bit of a shift, but if you look at the last century, Ohio State’s still got the upper hand. Every win against Michigan is a tribute to the Buckeyes’ grit and never-quit attitude—traits that embody the spirit of Ohio State football.

But the Buckeyes’ success isn’t just a regional or conference thing. The Buckeyes are a big deal on the national stage too, with regular appearances in major bowl games and the College Football Playoff. Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, national championship game—name it, and Ohio State’s probably left its stamp on it.

And let’s not forget about TV ratings. Buckeye games regularly pull in millions of viewers, setting records and proving just how much the country loves to watch them play. When the Buckeyes hit the field, it’s not just a Columbus thing—it’s a nationwide event.

Ohio State is also a talent factory for the National Football League. The Buckeye’s knack for developing players and getting them into the NFL draft is second to none, reinforcing its reputation as a top spot for athletes aiming for an NFL career.

Winning in college football of course starts with the recruiting game. Ohio State is consistently able to attract top talent from across the country, showing the draw of suiting up in the scarlet and gray.

In short, Ohio State’s success isn’t about one thing or one moment. It’s a mix of wins on the field, influence off the field, and a commitment to excellence. It’s a winning story that resonates throughout Ohio Stadium, echoes across a huge alumni network, and strikes a chord with fans of all ages, near and far.

Buckeyes Everywhere | The Massive Alumni Network of Ohio State University

Think about what a university really is—it’s a whole bunch of brains brought together, where ideas, experiences, and ambitions all mix and mingle. Sure, the buildings and the campus matter, but it’s really the people that make a university. And Ohio State has people in spades. We’re talking about an enormous, lively network of alumni that shows just how much folks love Ohio State and the wide range of stuff it offers.

Universities are like factories, but instead of making gadgets, they’re creating knowledge, opportunities, and graduates. And let me tell you, Ohio State is one heck of a production line. The network of alumni just keeps growing.

Now, if you want to wrap your head around how big Ohio State’s alumni network really is, you’ve got to consider the numbers. We’re talking over 600,000 living alumni—a jaw-dropping amount even for big public universities. These Buckeyes are spread out all over the world, making up one of the biggest alumni networks of any university, anywhere.

This massive network of alumni is a big part of what makes Ohio State what it is. Every year, more Buckeyes graduate and join the ranks of this global community, bound together by shared experiences and a lasting love for their old school. We’ve got Buckeyes doing all sorts of things—doctors in Dublin, engineers in Ethiopia, writers in South Carolina—you name it.

This alumni network is super important for a couple of reasons. First off, it shows that Ohio State’s always been committed to making education available to many. For years, Ohio State has opened its doors to all, not just a select few. This dedication to access has helped grow a diverse network of alumni and reinforced their reputation as a university for many. While this has changed due to the ultra-competitive landscape of college admissions, the number of alumni will continue to at least stay level.

Plus, having a large and active network of alumni is great for growth. Their donations help fund scholarships, support faculty, and make improvements around campus, all of which help push the university forward. On top of that, it’s a big win for current students and recent grads, who can tap into this wealth of experience and connections for networking and career opportunities.

In the end, Ohio State’s massive network of alumni is a reflection of how appealing the school is and its commitment to creating opportunities for students from all walks of life. It’s a link to the university’s past, present, and future, all tied together by a shared love of the Buckeyes. This sea of scarlet and gray is a powerful force.

The Legacy of Ohio State Fans

Being a Buckeye fan isn’t just about cheering for a team—it’s a family thing, a tradition that gets passed down from one generation to the next. It’s something that connects folks from all walks of life, not just across Ohio, but everywhere else too.

In Ohio, being a Buckeye fan is as much a part of you as your last name. It’s something you’re born into. Grandparents tell their grandkids about the good old days, and parents take their kids to their first game to experience the electrifying crowd, the buzz on the field, and that rush you get when the Buckeyes win. This kind of family tradition is the heart of what keeps the Ohio State fandom alive and kicking.

Buckeye football is what brings people together. When fall comes around, Saturdays are sacred. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home glued to the TV or in the stands at Ohio Stadium—everyone’s united under the scarlet and gray. And this love for the Buckeyes isn’t just in the homes of alumni, it’s in every Ohio household where Buckeye spirit runs high.

Being a Buckeye fan is also about local pride. The love for the team started here in Ohio and has only grown over the years. Ohio isn’t just a state, it’s Buckeye Country. It’s where kids throw around footballs in their backyard, dreaming of the day they’ll get to wear the scarlet and gray.

But don’t for a second think that the Buckeye love is boxed within Ohio’s borders. Not by a long shot! Buckeye fans are peppered all across this great nation, and they’ve taken their love for the team with them, no matter how far away they’ve moved. You see, being a fan isn’t just about geography—it’s about heart, and there’s enough Buckeye spirit to stretch from coast to coast.

It’s a beautiful thing to see the way being a Buckeye fan becomes a thread that connects people back to their roots. Just picture a family who’s moved to, let’s say, sunny California or Western New York or the Piedmont of North Carolina. In their new home, among new friends and a different way of life, that spark of Buckeye fandom keeps their connection to Ohio alive and well. Every game, every win is a reminder of where they come from.

And the best part? It’s not just about holding onto their roots—it’s also about passing them on. These Buckeye-loving parents are teaching their kids the chants, decking them out in their favorite Ohio State gear, and turning them into little Buckeye fans even before they can tie their own shoelaces. From daddy’s little girl getting her first Ohio State onesie to a son watching the Buckeyes take the field with his mom for the first time, the legacy of being a Buckeye fan is being lovingly passed on.

And you know what? It doesn’t stop at their kids. It continues to their grandkids and their grandkids’ kids. It’s an unending cycle of Buckeye love being passed down the generations. Think about it. That’s a lot of scarlet and gray through the ages and a lot of “O-H-I-O” chants through the years!

The love for the Buckeyes is a timeless treasure, an heirloom if you will. It’s something that’s kept safe and then handed down from generation to generation, growing richer with every passing year. It’s a legacy that goes beyond just being fans—it’s about being part of a vast, interconnected family with Ohio State at its core.

There’s even a whole group of Buckeye fans who’ve never even set foot on the Ohio State campus. They might not have gone to Ohio State, but they cheer for the Buckeyes like they’re alumni. They’re proof that the spirit of Ohio State football is so strong, it goes beyond the usual ways people become fans.

At its heart, being a Buckeye fan is about wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a reminder that sports are about more than just the game—it’s about the stories we share, the memories we make, and the community we build. And in the world of college football, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fanbase more devoted, more long-standing, or more passionate than the Buckeye fans.

Ohio State Football

At the heart of the American education system, Ohio State University shines brightly. It’s not just a powerhouse school, it’s also a cornerstone of community and unity. OSU continually draws its alumni back, strengthening their connection to the school and each other. This unity, supercharged by football, has been key to Ohio State’s growth, launching its name on the global stage and powering its economic engine.

Ohio State started with a straightforward ambition – to make a difference through education and sports. Now, it’s a place where accomplishments are the norm, not the exception. Every group of Buckeyes that takes to the field is living the dreams of those who came before and setting the bar for those who will follow. It’s more than just about football, it’s about a legacy, a community, and a common love for the game.

But here’s the thing we really need to remember: at the end of the day, the magic of Ohio State comes from its people. The students who became alumni, the fans who are born into Buckeye families, the folks from Ohio, and even those who became fans from afar—they’ve all played a part in making Ohio State what it is today.

For Ohio State, it’s not just about having a large network, but about the strong relationships it’s built with its alumni. Its football program is the thread that ties these connections together, enhancing the university’s reputation and supporting its financial resources. It’s this network of shared experiences and passion for the Buckeyes that has propelled Ohio State to its current heights.

So here we are, at the end of our Buckeye journey, but certainly not the end of the story. The story of Ohio State, its football program, and its alumni is still being written. It’s a story of continual growth, spurred on by an unwavering commitment to excellence and a strong sense of community. And as the sun sets on the Horseshoe, and the field falls quiet, you can almost hear the echoes of the past mixing with the whispers of what’s yet to come. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of Ohio State University. And you can bet that when the sun rises on a new day, there’ll be opportunities, challenges, and victories. And the Ohio State community? They’ll be ready, standing united in their love for the Scarlet and Gray.


TL;DR summary:

This article explores how Ohio State University’s football program has harnessed one of the largest living alumni networks in the world to enhance its brand and generate significant revenue. Tracing the history of Ohio State football from its humble beginnings, the article underscores the significance of legendary coaches, like Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and Ryan Day, in elevating the team to national prominence. The article also explores the growth of college football as a sport, the transformation of Columbus, Ohio, into a major American city, and the continual success of Ohio State on the field. The narrative emphasizes the role of a large, diverse student body and the legacy of loyal fans, many of whom have familial or regional ties to Ohio State. The article concludes by highlighting how the collective spirit of the alumni and fans, united under the banner of Ohio State football, contributes to the university’s ongoing success and growth.

TL;DR silver bullets:

  • Ohio State University’s football program effectively uses its large alumni network to enhance its brand and generate revenue.
  • Legendary coaches like Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and Ryan Day have played key roles in making the team nationally prominent.
  • The rise of Columbus, Ohio, as a major American city has positively influenced the university and the football program.
  • The growth of college football as a sport has paralleled and contributed to Ohio State’s football success.
  • The university’s large, diverse student body and generations of loyal fans, many with familial or regional ties to Ohio State, significantly support the program.
  • The collective spirit of the alumni and fans, united under Ohio State football, contributes to the university’s ongoing growth and success.

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Photo credit: Eric Kasimov, 2014 iPhone, Ohio Stadium, Michigan @ Ohio State