All-Time Great Archie Griffin Recognizes Local Club
They say Archie Griffin still speaks to the Ohio State football team before every game. Those pep talks couldn’t be much more rousing than the speech the college football hall of famer gave in Pinehurst on Wednesday night.
The only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history, Griffin, the president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, was in town for an event hosted by The Ohio State Sandhills Alumni Club at Midland Country Club’s Table on the Green restaurant.
“It truly is a pleasure to be here in Pinehurst visiting with our great Sandhills Buckeyes,” he said. “I’ve always said that one of the best parts of my role with the alumni association is that it gives me the opportunity to meet so many people who share a tremendous love of Ohio State. And you know what? There’s no doubt that there are plenty of those people here tonight.”
While in Pinehurst, Griffin gained his newest nickname, Sandy, which came out of his time spent in the sand traps at the Pinehurst Country Club.
He also commented on the recent expansion of the Big Ten Conference, saying he likes the addition of Nebraska as the league’s 12th member and that he doesn’t think the Big Ten is finished expanding.
“I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but I think we’ll end up with about 16 teams,” he said. “Don’t know how long it’s going to take to get there, but I think it’s going to be one of those situations where the Big Ten is going to be a leader in the expansion of conferences and not a follower.”
He also said he believes that Notre Dame will eventually join the Big Ten.
“In my opinion, Notre Dame’s going to have to get involved in a league sometime or another, and I think if they get involed in a league, it probably will be the Big Ten,” he said. “I think it’s in their best interest to get into the Big Ten.”
Before becoming the first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom he played in Super Bowl XVI after the 1981 season, Griffin played for Ohio State from 1972 through 1975, winning the Heisman after his junior and senior seasons. He finished college with 5,589 rushing yards, then an NCAA record, and led the Buckeyes to four conference championships. He was the first player and one of two all-time to start in four Rose Bowls.
For all this and more, he’s earned legendary status in the rich lore of Ohio State football. “He’s a better young man than he is a football player, and he’s the best football player I’ve ever seen,” is the famous quote former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes said of Griffin.
“He’s something special,” said Ann Bilobrowka, publicity chairman for the Sandhills club. “Every time I’ve seen him, he never loses that smile.”
The Ohio State Sandhills Alumni Club, founded and chaired by Nancy Phelps, was honored at Griffin’s presence, serenading him with school songs like “Carmen Ohio” and “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan” while presenting him and other members of his traveling party with gifts, such as personalized golf grips and an Ohio State rug.
The Sandhills club is going into its fourth year with 143 members. Phelps said it was able to host one of the all-time great Buckeyes because of the fundraising goals it has reached over the years.
“The Buckeyes are just a large and united group of people, and our little club for the past two years has won the Gold Star award, which means we’ve reached the highest goals the alumni association expects clubs to attain,” she said. “So they’re giving us a little bit of recognition.”
She also said one need not be an Ohio State alumn to join the group.
“Yes, we’re an alumni club, and we’re directly connected with the college through scholarships and community projects throughout Moore and Cumberland counties, but you don’t need to be an alumni to join our group,” she said.
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