John Cooper is elected to the College Football Hall of Fame

John Cooper is elected to the College Football Hall of Fame
John Cooper

John Cooper is elected to the College Football Hall of Fame

The College Football Hall of Fame induction of the 2008 members and announcement of those that will be inducted in 2009 was almost totally ignored by the traditional media.  That is not surprising but it is a real shame. 

By Bill Smith

Down Times for the HOF

    For years you couldn't find the Hall with a map and a guide dog.  It was hidden in the woods behind the Kings Island amusement park.  Out of sight and definitely out of mind mainly because it was also out of money.   The building was rundown and few of the “interactive” exhibits worked.  Then the University of Notre Dame traded a couple of helmet straps to the park for the CFHF and a player to be named later.

HOF Turnaround

    It is now in a beautiful building with excellent exhibits and fresh and working interactive exhibits but based on the press coverage no one in the sports media has noticed.  And that is too bad.  The men selected are all very deserving.  The 2008 induction class included Joe Paterno.  It is exciting to be named by your peers as one of the best in the game.  But the ultimate accolade in any profession is to be recognized by your peers as one of the best ever at what you did.  That is exactly what the CFHF did in electing Coach Cooper.

John Cooper’s Career

    Cooper played college football at Iowa State where he was a captain and team MVP.  After several years of working as an assistant coach at several schools, he was named the head football coach at the University of Tulsa in 1977, where he compiled a 57-31 record with five Missouri Valley Conference titles. He became the head coach at Arizona State in 1985 where his teams played in three consecutive bowl games, including the 1987 Rose Bowl, during his three-year tenure. Notably, he was just 0-2-1 against arch-rival Arizona. He accepted the job as head coach at Ohio State on December 31, 1987. It is rumored that he became the front-runner for the head coaching position at Ohio State because of his 1987 Rose Bowl victory over Michigan.

    John's Buckeye team was 111-43-4 in his 13 years at OSU including shared Big 10 Titles in 1993, 1996 and 1998. 

2008 HOF Inductees

    John Cooper was among 15 elected to the Hall.  The list includes Billy Cannon, running back out of LSU; quarterback Troy Aikman of UCLS; offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski of Virginia; Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald; Florida linebacker Wilber Marshall; Washington State running back Ruben Mayes; Arizona State guard Randall McDaniel; Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson; Wyoming tight end Jay Novacek; Texas Tech split end Dave Parks; Florida State nose guard Ron Simmons; Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas; Army quarterback Arnold Tucker; former Arkansas, Notre Dame and South Carolina coach Lou Holtz.  The 2009 class will be inducted in a dinner this December and formally enshrined next July.

    We here at congratulate Coach Cooper and thank him for his work for our Buckeyes.  We also congratulate all of the 2008 and 2009 members of the Hall.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent.  He is a senior writer for  He has also published several novels on and edits

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