COLUMBUS (WCMH) — An Ohio State University legend passed away this week. Howard “Hopalong” Cassady died at his home in Tampa, Fl. Friday.
They say legends never die, but they can fade if their stories aren’t shared, and Saturday, as a young group of Buckeyes hit the Horseshoe to make their own history, another was honored for leading the charge.
Every year, new Buckeye fans are created, and it isn’t always easy to educate them on the legends that made the Scarlett and Gray what they are today.
Sometimes, even the most fervent fans don’t know their Buckeye history.
We asked a handful of fans who “Hopalong” Cassady was.
“I don’t know, who’s that?” one fan said.
“Awww, crap, why don’t I know this?” said another.
“‘Hopalong’ Cassady is a Heisman Trophy winner that just passed away here recently,” said a third.
Having won the Heisman in 1955, there were not many at Saturday’s game who could say they actually watched Cassady play, but those who did said it was something special.
“It really was fun to watch him play because every time he would get the ball you knew something exciting was going to happen,” said Buckeye fan Larry English.
Steve Jones has many fond memories, his cousin having played alongside Cassady the year he won the Heisman.
“He told me a lot of stories about Woody and the teams and when I was young, I got to meet some of those guys, but I really didn’t appreciate it then,” said Jones, who’s watched OSU since he was a boy.
He appreciates all that history now and laments that those stories can fade with time, but there is hope.
“When something like this happens, we have enough information that people learn,” Jones said.
“We walk into the ‘Shoe, there is a certain level of tradition to uphold and that means a lot to us,” said OSU Head Coach Ryan Day. “So I know he’s listening somewhere up in Heaven somewhere, so one more time, let’s give it up for ‘Hopalong’ Cassady.”
One father who was at the game with his daughters said his father told him stories of Cassady when he was a boy, and he plans to do the same with his girls as well to make sure the legend lives on.