The Greatest Drives in Ohio State football history. This has been a labor of love,
and hopefully all of you have enjoyed the rides.
I would like to dedicate this series of the greatest drives to the memory of a dear friend, “The Coach” Larry Woodruff. Larry was a co-worker of mine at the Dublin, Ohio Post Office. The season of 1996, which gave us our #1 drive, was the first year we worked together. It was around spring of that year that I learned my “scheme” (memorizing all of the streets in Dublin), and for the next two-plus years Larry and I worked side-by-side, sorting mail and talking Buckeye football for hours on end.
I’ll never forget Larry asking me on the morning of the Penn State game that year if I had a ticket to the game. I said no, I was going to try and go down and get one from a scalper. Reaching into his wallet, he pulled out a ticket and said, “Well, if that’s what you want to do, I’ll find someone else to use this…”. My co-workers still say they’ll never forget the sight of a grown man on his knees at 3:00 in the morning, pleading, “Please, I’ll do anything!” That was the first game we attended together.
I transferred to the Hilliard Post Office just before the start of the 1998 season. I absolutely hated to leave a great friend and “Buckeye Brother”, but we continued to talk and my wife and I always enjoyed the company of Larry, his wife Fran, and their sons Jim and Tim, who are the next best things to the brothers I never had.
Ironically, the last time we watched a game together was in Larry’s family room in Gahanna on November 19, 2005, when Troy Smith led the Buckeyes back to a come-from-behind 25-21 win- a victory that inspired this entire “Greatest Drives” series. I think I jumped ten feet in the air out of Larry’s recliner when Gonzo made the big catch.
Larry battled cancer for several months, and on March 30th, 2006 “The Coach” passed away much too soon at the age of 56. Future seasons will not be the same, but Larry now has the best seat in the house. I’ll miss you, Coach. Go Bucks!
“Time and change will surely show,
How firm thy friendship, O-HI-O”