The Ohio State University Men’s Varsity O Alumni Association recently announced that Neal Colzie will finally be inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. I’m amazed that Colzie, a legendary defensive back and kick returner, wasn’t named to the Hall of Fame years ago.
Colzie was one of the most memorable players on the great Ohio State football teams of the early 1970s. He was fast, a powerful hitter and sure tackler, had great hands, and was a shifty, elusive runner who was tough to catch and bring down on a kick return or after an interception. He made many big plays on a team filled with big-time players. More important to me, as an impressionable teenager at the time, he clearly was one of the coolest guys on the team. He looked cool, walked cool, acted cool, dressed cool, and — and this was not easy to do — was even cool when he appeared on The Woody Hayes Show. Anyone who ever watched that show remembers the awkward staging and pregnant pauses as Coach Hayes brought on some fidgeting players and “interviewed” them. Woody would ask them some softball questions about the game and then try to coax the right answers from some enormous, ill-at-ease, tongue-tied offensive lineman. I remember Colzie having a bemused expression whenever he was on the show, as if he was enjoying the spectacle as much as anybody else.
I searched high and low for a better photo of Neal Colzie than the picture at left, but was unsuccessful. He deserves a better picture, and he deserves to be included in the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame.