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Richard "Dick" Larkins (April 19, 1909 – April 7, 1977) was the athletic director at the Ohio State University from 1947 to 1970. Larkins also played tackle for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team in the 1910s and served on the Ohio State faculty as a professor of physical education.

In one of his first acts as Ohio State athletic director, Larkins hired his old teammate, Wes Fesler, to take over as Ohio State's football coach.[1] Larkins also became involved in a public feud with legendary coach Paul Brown in 1948. A story in the Minneapolis Times quoted Larkins as saying: "Brown has started a terrific drive in Columbus and all around Ohio to return as football coach at Ohio State. Brown is not happy in the pro atmosphere. He has a good bank account and wants to coach college kids again."[2] Larkins was also quoted as saying that Brown has been "stealing football players off our campus by the dozen" and that Brown had "done everything in his power to hurt Ohio State."[2] Brown accused Larkins of conducting a smear campaign, and Larkins claimed he had been mis-quoted.[2]

He is also remembered as the Ohio State athletic director who made the decision to proceed with the historic Snow Bowl game against Michigan in 1950. Despite extraordinarily inclement weather, Larkins decided to play the game "due to the number of people who attended, and the mess it would have created to refund the tickets."[3] Ohio State lost the game 9-3.

Larkins drew national media attention for his comments in 1951 criticizing big-time college football as a Frankenstein monster. In the remarks, Larkins said:

"Football is being ruined. It's getting completely out of hand. It's a Frankenstein, a monster. Football is killing itself. ... College football is too big for its breeches. ... These 80,000-90,000 Roman holidays are not good for college athletics. They're killing it. You'll never know the pressures on us in this coaching situation. The outside pressures, the outside interference! It's just terrific. I don't know how much longer educators can put up with this stuff. We're educational institutions, we're not the New York Yankees or Chicago Bears."[4]

However, Larkins is best remembered as the driving force behind the 1951 hiring of Woody Hayes as Ohio State's football coach. Ironically, Larkins' decision to hire the little-known Hayes, over former Buckeyes' coach Paul Brown, led to petitions being circulated on campus calling for Larkins' removal; the petition claimed that Larkins "has lost confidence of the Ohio State student body" over his opposition to Brown's return as football coach.[5] Larkins became Hayes' strongest supporter at the university and protected Hayes after numerous clashes and against efforts by university administrators to fire him.[6] Larkins and Hayes became close friends; in 1979, Hayes recalled: "My greatest friends are always people that I fight with. Bo (Schembechler) was one of those. .... That was true with Dick Larkins (former athletic director at Ohio State). We were always arguing but agreed on everything."[7]

In 1970, Larkins became the fourth recipient of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award , presented by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics "to the collegiate administrator who through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment."

Preceded by
Lynn St. John
Ohio State University
Athletic Directors

Succeeded by
J. Ed Weaver

See also


  1. ^ "Fesler Awaits Bucks Action". Los Angeles Times. 1947-02-11.  
  2. ^ a b c "Brown in Middle of Buckeye Grid Flare-Up". 1948-02-14.  
  3. ^ "OSU vs Michigan -The Snow Bowl of 1950". Ohio State University.  
  4. ^ "Big-Time College Football Draws Ohio Blast". Los Angeles Times. 1951-02-17.  
  5. ^ "Ohio State Students Demand Ouster of Athletic Headman". Los Angeles Times. 1951-02-17.  
  6. ^ John Lombardo (2005). A Fire to Win: The Life and Times of Woody Hayes,p. 194. Macmillan. ISBN 0312325185.  
  7. ^ "Morning Briefing: Otis' Role as a Team Player Hinges on a 'Bed of Green'"". Los Angeles Times. 1979-03-08.  

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