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 OSU 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 Rotary 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.
Five genuine diamonds crown the ring that celebrates Stillwagon's crowning collegiate achievement—his second national championship. No such national title rings were created back in 1970 (though players did receive Big Ten championship examples), and so Stillwagon himself designed these commemorative showpieces while working at Jostens in the early 2000s, shortly after being named to OSU's All-Century Team. As many as 20-plus total were made for alumni of the '70 Buckeye squad, who were awarded their national championship by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. One shank showcases a phenomenal tribute to Coach Hayes within a raised-relief Horseshoe, above a Hayes catchphrase of sorts that he would murmur when listening to his players: "H'M-H'M." The remaining designs include: "OHIO STATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS," "STILLWAGON," "68 / MG," "1970," "FRIENDSHIP / TEAMMATES," and "COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME." Engraved inside the size-13 band is "J10K." Barely-if-ever-worn Near Mint condition.
Of Stillwagon's final home game before the Columbus faithful, a 20-9 win over rival Michigan on November 21, 1970, Buckeyes QB Rex Kern said, "Our defense played a perfect game that afternoon. Jim Stillwagon was outstanding. He was so great that often we took his greatness and effort for granted."
Jim Stillwagon 1970 Ohio State National Championship Ring
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