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Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 4:12 PM
— Marvin Lewis has never answered a question so fast.
At the end of a series of questions about his relationship with Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, Lewis was asked if he could imagine still coaching at age 80 like LeBeau.
“No,” came the immediate answer, followed by a laugh.
The 59-year-old Lewis is in his 29th season coaching in the NFL and 15th as head coach of the Bengals. His current contract expires at the end of the season.
He worked with LeBeau in Pittsburgh from 1992-95, and replaced his former boss as Bengals head coach in 2003.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:25 AM
— There will never be another Earle Bruce.
The Hall of Fame Ohio State football coach, who died early Friday at the age of 87, was an import from out of state, but he ended up being one of the most influential Buckeyes of all time.
A hotshot halfback from Cumberland, Md., “Lefty” Bruce had his playing career cut short by a knee injury.
PHOTOS: Earle Bruce through the years
First-year head coach Woody Hayes re-recruited him to stick around and help out the team, though, and that turned out to be a fateful decision for both men and the program.
Bruce is best known nationally for his nine years as head coach of the Buckeyes.
The College Football Hall of Fame tenure began with a Big Ten championship and an undefeated regular season and ended with his players carrying him off the Michigan Stadium field after an upset win over the Wolverines.
He won (81-26-1), but not enough to live up to the high standards of Ohio State.
The firing of “Ol’ 9 and 3 Earle” at the end of a disappointing 1987 season was controversial at the time, but subsequent seasons showed recruiting had declined and a change was probably needed before things got worse.
Regardless, it proved to be far from the end of Bruce’s association with the Scarlet and Gray.
Better days were to come, and Earle Bruce played a large part in making them possible.
Bruce’s successor, John Cooper, modernized the program by nationalizing recruiting and updating Ohio State’s schemes, but two Bruce proteges took the Buckeyes back to the top of the college football world.
Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, winners of the national championship in 2002 and 2014, respectively, both were brought to Ohio State initially by Bruce, and both counted him as an important mentor.
Bruce was also a difference-maker away from the field.
Through multiple efforts — including his annual Beat Michigan Tailgate — he helped raise over $1 million for Alzheimer’s research, a disease that claimed his father and two sisters.
His family revealed last summer he was also in the early stages of battling the disease.
Death is a part of life, and few lived as full of one as Earle Bruce, a player, coach and mentor who left an indelible mark on Ohio State football.
Over the past 20-plus years, he remained a presence with the program and a go-to resource for media members who wanted first-hand accounts of the days of Hayes or insight on what makes Tressel and Meyer tick.
I was sitting with Jerry Hanlon, former U of M assistant at an awards dinner. He would later drive me to Ann Arbor for my visit. Coach Bruce was the keynote speaker and said, "Ohio fullbacks should stay in Ohio and play at Ohio State." It was a long ride to Ann Arbor. RIP Coach. pic.twitter.com/PTxGAmshSR— Vaughn Broadnax (@vaughnbroadnax) April 20, 2018
During the Tressel days, “Hurricane Earle” was famous for blowing through the Woody Hayes Athletic Center early in Michigan Week.
He would give one of those old fashioned fire and brimstone speeches to get the players fired up to face the Wolverines, a fitting coda to a life lived as one of the ultimate Buckeyes.
One can’t help but wonder how many young Ohio State players -- including those who like him came from out of state -- first learned about the intensity of The Game from Bruce.
Too many to count.
That might not be the biggest part of his legacy, but it’s perhaps the most appropriate.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:57 AM
COLUMBUS — Former Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Earle Bruce died early Friday at 87, according to a statement released by his daughters.
Bruce, who was hired in January 1979 and followed Woody Hayes, coached the Buckeyes from 1979-89 and had a record of 81-26-1 in nine seasons.
» HARTMAN: Bruce one of most influential Buckeyes ever
Bruce remained close to the program. Two years ago, he dotted the “I’ in Script Ohio before a game against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Coach Earle Bruce, early this morning, Friday, April 20,” the statement by his daughters (Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel) read. “He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many. Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes.”
Current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in Bruce’s last two seasons.
“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Meyer said in a press release. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife (Jean) and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”
Bruce was 5-4 against Michigan in his career and 5-3 in bowl games. He won four Big Ten championships (1979, 1981, 1984, 1986). He won his first 11 games in 1979 and was named national coach of the year.
» RELATED: Meyer wishes Bruce happy birthday in March
“I'm proud of about three things in my career,” Bruce said in 2001. “One is the Michigan record: 5-4. And the only games they won were because there wasn't a fifth quarter. If there had been a fifth quarter, we would have kicked their butts. We just ran out of time, that's how I look at it. And I went against Bo Schembechler, the best coach they ever had, no question.''
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:45 PM
DAYTON — Always athletic and tall for his age, Montrell Marshall was a natural at football and basketball while growing up in Pinehurst, North Carolina. That’s also prime stick-and-ball country; golf.
“I’m not a good golfer, but I pass by it all the time,” the Dragons first baseman sheepishly admitted.
»RELATED: Another gem by Hunter Greene
A solid 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds, Marshall gave up football at his mom’s insistence. “I didn’t play after middle school,” he recalled. “My mom, she was terrified of it.”
Basketball, too, is a distant memory.
Apparently headed to Auburn University to play baseball, the Reds took a chance and drafted Marshall out of high school. The rest is developing minor-league baseball history.
“It was a tough decision to make,” said Marshall, who was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round of 2014 and spent the last two seasons in rookie ball at Billings, Mont.
“I really liked Auburn. They showed me a lot of love. That’s a fun atmosphere and my best friend was going there the year after. It was a tough decision.”
Marshall is among a core group who graduated from Billings last season to low Class A Dayton in the Midwest League. On Thursday night, his run-scoring single was the difference in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field. That was noteworthy for all the right reasons.
• It was the Dragons’ eighth straight win. The last time that happened was in May of 2011 when Billy Hamilton was setting stolen base records for the Dragons.
• The win streak has all played out at home. That’s just two wins shy of matching the home win streak of 10.
• The Dragons (8-3) previously swept home series from Bowling Green and Lake County, and now have rung up South Bend, a Chicago Cubs affiliate.
• The Dragons did not commit an error in the three-game series. It’s the first time since August of 2016 that has happened.
Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary’s two-run single in the second inning evened it at 2-all. Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton (1-0) earned the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He also struck out four. Relievers Luis Alecis, Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel (third save) also pitched shutout innings.
“This is fun,” Marshall said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won eight in a row. It’s a fun team.”
Dragons tales: Wednesday was shake-up day for the Reds with the firing of manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins. Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said that wasn’t a hot topic among players.
“We don’t address anything with them,” he said. “They’re aware of what’s going on, but it doesn’t affect us much of what’s going on here. I don’t want them thinking about stuff. I want them concentrating on games and to get better.”
Reds special assistant Eric Davis, with the Dragons for practice and the game, declined to address Price’s firing.
• The Dragons took a roster hit Wednesday when closer Sarkis Ohanian was promoted to high Class A Daytona. Taking his place was former Dragon Dauri Moreta, who had been in extended spring training.
»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
Ohanian (1-0) had four appearances, collecting two saves and a 5.40 ERA. Moreta was at his best during the Dragons’ postseason last year. In his final 16 appearances he had a 1.85 ERA and earned a save in two playoff wins. He didn’t allow a run in four playoff games.
• The Dragons are at Fort Wayne for a three-game series beginning Friday, then at Lansing for a four-game series. Their next home game is Friday, April 27 to start a three-game series against Fort Wayne.
Dayton at Fort Wayne, 7 p.m.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:19 AM
— Turns out losing games actually does have consequences in Cincinnati.
That’s reassuring, I guess.
RELATED: What’s a manager worth, anyway?
The Cincinnati Reds firing Bryan Price might not make them better, but at least he will no longer be able to make them worse.
I wanted Price to work out as the team’s manager, and I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job.
He seems like a good man who knows baseball. I hope he lands on his feet, and I believe he will.
But he had to go.
Dusty Baker (Price’s predecessor) did some great things to help close the door on a decade-plus of losing, but he had taken the Reds as far as he could with his managerial style (good) and lineup-building foibles (bad).
Price, the architect of a great pitching staff under Baker, made as much sense as anyone to get the job four years ago.
He stumbled out of the gate with a flawed team, but he showed some progress as the manager even as the roster got worse and injuries multiplied.
Certainly making a change after last season would have been justified, but sticking with him wasn’t the worst idea, either, considering he had not really had much to work with and there was reason to think the Reds would be better this season.
With a 3-15 record, they are not, of course.
So far, this has looked like one of the worst Cincinnati teams ever, in fact, and Price blew multiple games last week with bizarre late-inning decisions.
The manager doesn’t swing the bat and he doesn’t make the pitches (or throw the ball over Joey Votto’s head), but he’s in there for some reason, right?
This team needs new direction.
They needed to do something to shake up the clubhouse before losing became a way of life for another summer on the riverfront.
After players’ managers like Baker and Price, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned butt kicker could do some good.
We shall see if Jim Riggleman is that man.
If not, well, we’ll see next year if it’s someone else.Follow @marcushartman