Randy Ayers has had some good times and bad times. It isn’t his fault that he’s had some jerks on his team (like Greg Simpson and the two car-thief wannabes from last year). Two key players on the team, Jason Singleton and Damon Stringer have only improved their play and have begun to really shine like suns on the court. The comments made by Eric Hanna and Don Jantonio reflect how popular and decent a coach Randy is. You could see it at every game on TV. When a Buckeye player fouled out or erred in some way, Randy would console the player, sometimes with a hug. He would NEVER shout or belittle or make a pompous ass out of himself like that dictator Bobby Knight does. Randy Ayers generally keeps his cool. He knows good sportsmanship unlike so many other athletic coaches today. If I were an athlete, I’d rather play for a MAN like Randy Ayers. For it takes a man to know mature sportsmanship and how to lose with style and how to roll with the punches when he needs to. John Cooper took eight seasons to get Ohio State to the Rose Bowl and win it. He was allowed all that slack so he could make OSU football number one. Make no mistake, I’m not slamming Cooper here and I salute his football triumphs, but couldn’t Randy get a break, too? After all, he has brought the Bucks to number one in the Big Ten for two seasons. Under his direction, OSU was ranked number two in the nation. He made the distinction of National Coach of the Year by the AP and the Black Coaches Association. His team last year had the honor of playing (and beating) the South African pro team. He has brought pride to this university and that shall not be forgotten. Nancy Darsch brought OSU women’s basketball to everyone’s attention with her stellar record also. Does anyone remember Kate Smith, Kodak All-American of 1996? Darsch’s 234-125 overall record is good. I guess none of the progress, pride and positive legacies that Randy and Nancy have given OSU mean anything against politics and the financial backing of an unneeded hoop arena (yes, this was mentioned on the 6 o’clock news, too), never mind leaving St. John’s to fall to pieces. This biz of “not meeting the goals” is a crock. Ayers had his contract set for two more seasons. I guess it’s OK to renege on an agreement, right? To Randy Ayers and Nancy Darsch, thank you for all the fun of the hoops and the pride of victory. You have a lot to be proud of and you will be sorely missed. It is a shame that some fair-weather Buckeye fans have decided to destroy the great legacy of men’s and women’s basketball at OSU.
James Scott HeineSenior