Great Ohio athletes and coaches

By Denise Turney
Ohio is one of the larger populated states in America. Known as the Buckeye State, Ohio is home to more than 11 million people. People born and/or raised in Ohio know that outside of Cleveland and Cincinnati, many cities in the state are small. Surprisingly, these small towns have produced some of the country’s and world’s greatest athletes.

Ohio is home to some of the world’s best athletes

Chief amongst Ohio’s great athletes, people who went to the top of their sport on a global scale, are Dayton’s Edwin Moses and Akron’s LeBron James. Edwin earned top honors in track and field for the 400 meter hurdles. He won gold medals in the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. Edwin also ran his way to a remarkable 107 consecutive finals. You’ll be hard pressed to find another athlete in any other sport who’s won more than 100 competitions in a row!

LeBron James started out with the Cleveland Cavaliers then went to play for the Miami
Heat. As an active athlete, LeBron James has won two NBA championships (both win the Miami Heat) so far. He has won four NBA MVP titles. Lebron James has also won an Olympic gold medal. The way he’s been playing, there are more to come: both for MVP titles and Olympic medals. LeBron’s star continues to rise. It remains to be seen how far this athletic phenom will go.

Jesse Owens was born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama. However, Jesse Owens would later claim Ohio as his home. This track and field phenom’s nickname was the “Buckeye Bullet.” It was at the 1936 Olympics that Jesse Owens won an impressive four gold medals (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4 by 100 meter relay). Carl Lewis is the only other men’s track and field athlete who has medaled in sprints and a field event.

Cleveland, Ohio native, Madeline Manning, won an Olympic gold medal in 1968. She is the first woman to break the two minute barrier in the 800 meters. Four years after winning the gold medal, Madeline returned to the 1972 Olympics and took home the silver medal.
Other great Ohio athletes include Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, another Ohioan who grew up in a small town. Born in Lima, Ohio, Ben Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl Championships. He’s also led the Steelers to three AFC Championships and played in two NFL Pro Bowls.

  • Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Chuck Noll, is also from Ohio, namely Cleveland. Coach Chuck Noll guided the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships.
  • NFL analyst and former NFL wide receiver, Cris Carter, was born in Middleton, Ohio.
  • Archie Griffin, Ohio State University running back and winner of two Heisman trophies, was born in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Baseball great, Pete Rose, earned National League MVP in 1973. He went on to win a World Series two years later in 1975. Not only was Pete Rose born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he also played baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Mike Schmidt is another MLB great who’s from Ohio. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Mike was a phenom for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was a monster at third base!
  • John Havlicek, born in Lansing, Ohio, led the Boston Celtics to eight NBA titles. He was elected to the NBA all-star team an impressive 13 times.
  • Don Shula is another winning coach from Ohio. Born in Plainesville, Ohio, Don Shula led the Miami Dolphins to the winningest season in the NFL. He also won two Super Bowl Championships.

Bobby Knight and Woody Hayes are two other great coaches from Ohio. Home for Bobby is Orryville, Ohio. Woody Hayes was born in Clifton, Ohio. These cities are so small, many people have never heard of them. Yet, these men’s passion for basketball (Bobby Knight) and football (Woody Hayes) propelled them to the top. Bobby Knight got his recognition coaching at Indiana University (not to mention his postgame interviews), while Woody Hayes took the Ohio State Buckeyes to 238 wins and 10 championships.

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2012 NBA Championships

My first musing is about the 2012 NBA Championships.  As a native Ohioan I am elated for LeBron James and the Miami Heat!  I’m happy that LeBron kept moving forward, persevered, and got his ring this year!

Even with his massive talent and athletic gifts the road to the championship for LeBron James wasn’t smooth. He played his heart out in Cleveland but, while there, didn’t have enough pieces to win it all. What he endured after deciding to go to Miami was unlike anything I had ever seen a professional athlete experience. Athletes who’ve committed crimes didn’t seem to get punched in the face as much as LeBron James did. But he endured. He stayed open and made necessary changes . . . changes that paid off.

The road to the 2012 NBA Championships remind me of the road to success in many other areas of life. It’s not always smooth as you ascend to the top, but it’s so worth it. You may have to work harder than you ever thought you could. You may have to remove some things from your life as if making room for the new great things that are knocking on your life’s door, asking you to let them in. You also might get criticized for mistakes, assumed or real, that you make. At times you might feel as if you’re aiming for the top all on your own. Keep climbing. Keep striving. Keep your eye on the prize. If you do, the payoff just might surprise you!

Before I close out this blog post, gotta tell you, I also like the Oklahoma City Thunder (love Russell Westbrook’s game and energy). Those guys are going to be around for years to come, making for great NBA playoff and NBA Finals series. Akin to what LeBron James did, I appreciate how the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame challenges and criticisms to reach the level they reached this year. As a former track and cross-country runner I know the loss stings, but they’ll be back. LeBron experienced eight years of losses before he got his ring. Hopefully, the guys on the Oklahoma City Thunder realize that and can see LeBron’s win as a vision of what they will experience.

Now I’m waiting to see what Eli and Peyton Manning will do after the NFL season kicks off. I’m also hoping that Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles give their supporters something to cheer about! Sports . . . don’t you love it!

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to, B&, and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You!