Friday, May 02, 2008

Hall of Fame Honors John Cooper

May 02, 2008

Doug Lesmerises

Columbus- When John Cooper was fired as Ohio State's football coach after the 2000 season, he thought about searching for another job, wanting to win seven more games to reach 200 for his career. Then his younger brother had this approximate take on reaching 200 wins - "Big stinking deal."

So Cooper ended his coaching career, choosing to spend his time with his wife, Helen, his kids and his grandkids. On Thursday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Cooper finally received his big stinking deal, as he celebrated his election to the College Football Hall of Fame.

"Life is great right now for John Cooper," he said of joining the 15-member class of 2008, beaming as his wife sat by his side.

Cooper, 70, finished with a career record of 193-83-6 at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State and became the 178th coach and sixth OSU coach in the Hall, joining Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, Howard Jones, Francis Schmidt and John Wilce.

"Here you've got everything it takes to be successful," Cooper said, motioning toward current OSU football coach Jim Tressel, standing off to his side. "Some time that guy right here will be in the Hall of Fame."

Cooper's teams finished in the top 25 in 12 of his 13 years at Ohio State, as he went 111-43-4, a record that included his 2-10-1 mark against Michigan.

Also elected to the Hall of Fame are quarterback Troy Aikman, tailback Billy Cannon and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.

The other 11 players chosen by the National Football Foundation's selection committee are Virginia offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski; 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, and Army quarterback Arnold Tucker.

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