August Live 2014
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In Jim Stillwagon's hometown of Mt. Vernon, OH, 60 miles northeast of the Horseshoe, devotion to the Buckeyes is a foregone conclusion. Yet Stillwagon grew up idolizing Notre Dame and had his sights set on the gridiron at South Bend...until, that is, he met Woody Hayes. "He just liked me because I had a short haircut and went to military school and said, 'Yes, sir,'" Jim later recalled. He received the very last scholarship in that greatest-ever recruiting class (which ultimately never lost a game at Ohio Stadium)—and may well have been its premier player. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound defensive tackle was notoriously strong, aggressive and fierce. As one of the Super Sophs, he led the Buckeyes to an undefeated national championship in '68. Their powerhouse defense kept opponents to just 10 points per game in '69, and the team staked claim to another national title in '70 as the Wagon was named OSU's MVP, plus received the supreme laurels of his position: The Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award. It was the Golden Age of the Woody Hayes era and the finest three-year run in Ohio State history. Drafted by the Packers (who wanted to turn him into a linebacker), Stillwagon chose to suit up instead for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, where he became a fan favorite and three-time All Star over five Argo seasons.
Not only is Jim Stillwagon's Lombardi Award one of just 44 ever issued (and a small number ever auctioned publicly), it also holds the elite distinction of being the very first! In 1970, shortly after Vince Lombardi's death, the Rotary Club of Houston bestowed the inaugural Lombardi Award upon Stillwagon as the country's top lineman who shows "leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline." The iconic polished granite symbolizes Lombardi's playing days as a member of Fordham's offensive line, dubbed the "7 Blocks of Granite." Below, the plaque reads: "LOMBARDI AWARD / OUTSTANDING COLLEGE LINEMAN / 1970 / ROTARY CLUB OF HOUSTON / AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY." Dimensions of the 17-pound award are 14" tall x 10" long x 10" wide, while condition is Near Mint with several small scratches along the bottom of the wooden base near the rear. Also included is a 1993 commemorative lithograph (11" x 13-3/8") that depicts Stillwagon receiving his Lombardi. As an interesting side note, Ohio State's 6 winners are the most by any school and feature fellow Buckeyes John Hicks ('73), Chris Spielman ('87), Orlando Pace ('95, '96 - the only two-time winner) and A.J. Hawk ('05).
Jim Stillwagon 1970 Lombardi Award - Inaugural Recipient
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