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Paul Bixler, OSU’s Mr. Inconsistent as head coach

Bixler’s short tenure featured some big wins — and one of the worst losses to Michigan in the history of the program.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There have been 24 head coaches in the history of Ohio State football. Each has a story and legacy. This offseason, Land-Grant Holy Land’s new series 24 Club will help you get to know the coaches from past and present who built the program. Today we look at Ohio State’s 17th head coach — Paul Bixler, who lead the program to big wins and even bigger losses.


Name: Paul Bixler
Seasons Coached: One (1946)
Overall Record: 4-3-2

Where Does He Rank in the 24 Club?
Overall Wins: No. 22 out of 24 OSU Coaches
Winning Percentage: No. 20 out of 24 OSU Coaches


Entering the 1946 season, Ohio State played its own version of musical chairs. After two winning seasons, OSU coach Carroll Widdoes stepped down and remained on staff as an assistant. Paul Bixler, who had been an assistant for Widdoes, took over as head coach.

Bixler lasted a single season in his new role. The team’s inconsistent play was his downfall. Ohio State shut out USC 21-0 in Los Angeles, and bested No. 6 Northwestern in Evanston. However, losses to Illinois and Wisconsin along with draws against a mediocre Missouri team and a bad Purdue squad turned up the heat on the new coach.

Unfortunately, Bixler’s seat went from warm to a couple of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun after the Wolverines came to town to end the season. Michigan bested Ohio State 58-6 in Columbus. The 52 point loss remains the worst defeat for any OSU team against the Wolverines in Columbus. Ohio State finished the year with a 4-3-2 record, and Bixler stepped aside.

In six seasons from 1941-1946, the Buckeyes had said hello and goodbye to three head coaches — Paul Brown, Carroll Widdoes and now Paul Bixler. Ohio State needed coaching stability. The search for the perfect fit continued.