The last two weeks we have debated subjects that we will find out actual answers to, now we give our brains an even bigger workout and step into the hypothetical world.
Today’s question: Which non-football related historical figure would be your choice to coach Ohio State?
What makes this question great is there could be thousands of answers, spanning plenty of different fields throughout history. There have been many great figures who were amazing leaders over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’d find success on the football field.
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s take: John Glenn
If I was to choose any historical figure to coach Ohio State, it would be John Glenn. I know it probably seems like I am trying to get a cheap pop by picking a beloved figure from Ohio to coach the Buckeyes, but I swear there’s more to it than that. Although being from Ohio certainly doesn’t hurt Glenn’s case, I feel like he could be a successful Ohio State coach if called upon.
One of the reasons I would be in support of Glenn coaching the Buckeyes is because of his military experience. I’m not saying that is required of successful coaches, because we have seen plenty of coaches that haven’t served but have still found plenty of success in the coaching ranks. I also don’t believe a coach with military experience needs to be a drill sergeant, since that can wear quickly on players.
Where this would help a coach is when it comes to preparation and focus. When times are tough, a team coached by Glenn wouldn’t give up, and even in a loss would play hard to the final whistle.
Another reason Glenn would be appealing as a head coach would be because of his innovation. You have to have a great mind to be the third American ever in space, and the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn even went back into space at 77 years old. All throughout his life, Glenn has displayed tremendous courage, which is a trait he would demand from his players.
Glenn does actually have some knowledge about the game of football after playing center and linebacker in high school. Even though the game was a lot different from what it is now, I wouldn’t bet against Glenn to not be able to adapt. Glenn has been adapting to changing times all throughout his life.
After dropping out of college to serve in the military during World War II and the Korean War, Glenn became an astronaut. After Glenn’s time in space was over (or so he thought), then he moved into the political field, serving in the United States Senate. Football coaches have to adapt all the time. Those that fail to adapt find themselves unemployed in short time.
Also, with his lengthy career in politics, Glenn would find plenty of success on the recruiting trail. Glenn served almost 25 years in the United States Senate. You don’t have that long a career as a senator if you don’t know how to talk to people and tell them what they want to hear, which is critical in recruiting. While some recruiters you know are just lying to get what they want, I never got that feeling from Glenn. He almost has the feel of Jim Tressel without the rigged raffles and tattoos for trinkets.
It may sound crazy to want somebody in a completely different field to become a football coach, but I think it’d be tough to find a better choice than Glenn. Even if he wasn’t able to end up finding success as coach of the Buckeyes, at least we could say we had one of Ohio’s most distinguished residents leading Ohio State.
Meredith’s take: William Shakespeare
I am literally so excited about this topic, even though narrowing down the myriad of historical figures to a single candidate to coach a modern football team is rather challenging.
So what makes a great coach in the first place? A knowledge of the game of football itself might help, but that naturally eliminates so many great options. However, we could make up for that by citing a general knowledge of schema. A military leader, maybe?
There’s also the imagination and innovation piece — having a creative genius on your sideline means your team can do things the opposition isn’t prepared for. Perhaps a great artist in a different time would have found his or her way to the sideline?
Further, there’s the ability to command attention, being able to effortlessly lead and direct groups on a whim, convincing them to follow you and join your pack (i.e., recruiting) Does a skilled orator come to mind?
But then there are the traits we don’t want...like eccentricity. As amusing as coaches like Mike Leach are on the sidelines (don’t come at me Mississippi State fans), there’s something about not being a distraction that definitely has its benefits. There’s a reason Jim Tressel was so successful in his time in Columbus.
We also don’t want someone angry. Because no one wants a coach who yells at players. (I see you, Brian Kelly).
Now who fits this bill? Knowledge of schemes, creative genius, the ability to command attention? Whose prominence is so preeminent that his owned designed schemes have survived hundreds of years? None other than the bard himself: William Shakespeare.
No, the game of football was not a thing when good ol’ Bill was writing some of the greatest and most enduring pieces of all time, but when it comes to knowledge of schemes, does anyone really get it more than the greatest user of iambic pentameter ever?
When it comes to creativity, Shakespeare boasted it in spades. From comedies to tragedies to histories, Shakespeare’s playbook (someone please pick up on that pun) runs deep. In his time, Shakespeare did things audiences had never seen — applying that knowledge to the football field would mean an offensive genius like we’ve never seen before.
Further, Shakespeare had the ability to command the attention of a room with his plays, even hundreds of years later. He could direct complicated plays with numerous actors, setting them off without a hitch.
Does it make sense? Probably not. But still fun to think about.