COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — All throughout Ohio Stadium there’s a group of workers, called red coats, who greet you on your way into the Horseshoe.
Ohio State describes them as front-line ambassadors for Buckeye football. No one takes that responsibility more seriously than the always smiling Doug Malone.
The veteran red coat of 17 years has laundry bags full of buckeyes at his house. The poisonous nut gets washed in a kiddie pool and brought to Ohio Stadium where a promise is kept by a son to his late father.
“I carry a buckeye in my pocket at all times,” Malone says with a smile.
Ever since 2006, every Buckeye carries a buckeye into the stadium.
“It was before the 2005 Texas game and somebody called out and said Coach [Luke] Fickell needed a lucky buckeye and dad happened to have one,” Malone said. “As he was walking back [to the north rotunda] he said, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to start handing buckeyes out to the team.'”
That’s exactly what Ron Malone did for a decade until his death in 2016.
“Everyday I’m here is special because I can kind of feel dad’s presence,” Doug Malone said.
Although he’s gone, the mark Ron left endures.
“During the 2015 season, that last game we saw together, he showed me where to stand where he typically stands and he pointed to this mark and he said this is where you need to be,” Malone said pointing to two long lines carved in the cement.
From band members to players and even red coats, everybody has a place they need to be on gameday.
Once again, the tradition is being passed down to the next generation.
“Here recently my youngest daughter came up with the idea of putting messages on the Buckeyes so yeah we’re all totally vested.”
The Malone family is vested in the Buckeyes and carrying on Ron’s legacy.
“You know it’s my dad’s memory that really drives me more than anything else cause it’s something he started,” Malone said. “I want to keep it going for him.”