Sunday, October 31, 1999


Griffin surprised with retirement of No. 45

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — Archie Griffin finally got his due place in Ohio State history Saturday when the school officially retired his jersey, making the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner the first Buckeye in any sport to have his number retired.

        Griffin's No.45 will go on display at Ohio Stadium next season. Athletic Director Andy Geiger said Ohio State's four other Heisman winners — Les Horvath (No.22, 1944), Vic Janowicz (No.31, 1950), Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (No.40, 1955) and Eddie George (No.27, 1995) — will have their numbers retired next season and put on display in 2001.

        Griffin had no prior knowledge of the jersey retirement.

        “I tried to figure out what was going on,” Griffin said. “I thought, "Maybe I'm going to get a plaque.' Then when I saw them bring out the framed jersey, my emotions got away from me. ... To be able to play football here, and have your jersey retired in front of your team is really, really special.”

        The ceremony was part of a celebration honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1974 team and Griffin's first Heisman. Griffin also won the award in 1975.

        “This is long overdue,” Geiger said. “Archie Griffin was a very special football player and is a very special person and a terrific role model.”

        Geiger said OSU plans to honor its other award winners but declined to reveal details.

        Griffin was also the logical first choice. From 1973-75, he rushed for 100 or more yards an NCAA-record 31 consecutive games, and he was the Big Ten's all-time career rusher with 5,589 yards until Wisconsin's Ron Dayne passed him this season.

        Coach John Cooper played Griffin's son Andre, a running back, late in the game as a tribute to the older Griffin. Griffin's younger son, Adam, was at his side during the ceremony.

        Griffin is OSU's associate athletic director and has worked in the athletic department since 1985.

        CAPTAIN'S LOG: Senior fullback and offensive captain Matt Keller (Moeller High) returned Saturday after missing three games with an ankle sprain. He has played in only four of OSU's nine games this season because of the sprain, and carried just once for no gain against Iowa. But his presence was felt.

        “Matt Keller gives us that extra confidence,” quarterback Steve Bellisari said.

        Senior cornerback and defensive captain Ahmed Plummer (Wyoming) picked off his fourth pass of the season. He said it capped “a blessed week” in which he was named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award and won a National College Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship.


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