The Buckeyes’ comeback
By Brian L. Meyers, Special To The Dayton Jewish Observer
Late in 2011, the Ohio State Buckeyes football program learned it faced a ban from 2012 post-season play because of student improprieties and a staff cover-up in 2010. That scandal also resulted in hiring a new coach for the team: Urban Meyer.
Under Meyer’s leadership, the Buckeyes finished their 2012 regular season play with a 12-0 record.
The story of their dramatic achievement is told in a new book by Bill Rabinowitz, Buckeye Rebirth: Urban Meyer, An Inspired Team and a New Era at Ohio State (Triumph Books). Rabinowitz, son of Daytonians Carole and Bernie Rabinowitz, will talk about his new book on Nov. 7 as part of the DJCC’s Cultural Arts & Book Fest.
Rabinowitz has been the beat reporter for the Columbus Dispatch covering the Buckeyes for more than three years. Before that, he covered the Bengals and even earlier, the Browns.
But his book isn’t a rehash of the stories he’s written about the Buckeyes. He insisted on telling the story behind the headlines. He insisted on new material. He wanted to get into the heads of the players and coaches.
All of the material for the book is fresh, he said. It came from hours of new interviews with Meyer and his wife, with more than 25 players and a cadre of coaches and staff who have been associated with either Meyer or the Buckeyes.
The book represents as much the determination of a writer to tell a story as it does the determination of a coach to lead his team to a winning season — despite all challenges — and the determination of a team eager to redeem itself from humbling sins of the past.
Buckeye Rebirth explores how Meyer had, at one time, set aside a promising coaching career because he let himself get pulled into long work hours with the attendant stress that eventually impacted his health and family.
His return to coaching and accepting the position with the Buckeyes required seeking the blessing of his wife and daughters.
Meyer had to promise a more balanced approach to career and family, one that would not compromise his commitment to his team or his ambition to lead them to a winning season.
Rabinowitz said he overcame an aggressive deadline of four months to complete the book while not compromising either his day job or his commitment to his family.
“There were days when I knew I had to write 3,000 words,” he said. “I did it. Not easily. But it’s what you have to do.”
Like Meyer, Rabinowitz found himself enlisting the support of his wife of more than 20 years, Erin, and their two children. Rabinowitz, like Meyer found himself seeking a balance of commitment to family and to the game.
Buckeye Rebirth isn’t an authorized biography of Meyer, though it centers on him. Meyer didn’t ask to see the manuscript before it went to press, but the project did require his cooperation.
Rabinowitz needed access to Meyer, his family, the team and the entire Buckeyes’ program and Meyer was eager to grant it.
Meyer wanted the story of the 2012 season told, Rabinowitz said. “He thought I was a good enough vehicle to tell it.”
Ohio State’s Jewish a cappella ensemble, the MeshugaNotes, will also perform at the Nov. 7 CABF program and those attending are encouraged to wear their game-day best.
DJCC’s Cultural Arts & Book Festival presents Columbus Dispatch Ohio State Football writer Bill Rabinowitz and OSU’s Jewish a capella ensemble, The MeshugaNotes, on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Boonshoft CJCE, 525 Versailles Dr., Centerville. Tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door. R.S.V.P. to Karen Steiger at 853-0372 or go to http://www.jewishdayton.org/.
To view the print version of the November 2013 Observer, click here.