You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

Ohio State grad Jeff Graham readying Trotwood-Madison for Ohio Stadium


Jeff Graham has tried to prepare his Trotwood-Madison football team for the Ohio Stadium experience, but he knows there is no substitute for the real thing.

“Once they get on that field they’re going to get emotional,” the third-year coach of the Rams said with his team preparing to play defending champion Akron Hoban for the Division III title at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“I told them, take a good five minutes, take a deep breath and absorb it all. You’re not going to be in front of 100,000, but you’re going to be in an arena that sits 100,000. So just take it in, soak it up, enjoy the moment and from that point on do everything that you did to get yourself in this position.”

Of course, Graham already knows what it’s like to play in the old Horseshoe on the banks of the Olentangy River.

After starring on both sides of the ball at Alter High School, he was a three-year starter at receiver for the Buckeyes from 1988-90.

Graham made the All-Big Ten first team as a senior, when he was named captain and chosen team MVP.

His 1,182 career receiving yards were fourth-most in Ohio State history when his career concluded, and they still ranked 14th heading into this season.

Alter coach Ed Domsitz, who is in his second stint as the top Knight, remembers Graham as “probably the best athlete I’ve ever coached.”

“He could have gone either way in college — football or basketball,” Domsitz said. “I think he loved both and enjoyed playing both but was able to see he might be able to make a living playing football.”

That he did, playing 11 seasons with five teams, including the Steelers, who chose him in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft.

Graham also played for the Bears, Jets, Eagles and Chargers. He caught 542 passes for 8,172 yards and 30 touchdowns in the NFL.

“It was fun watching him play at Ohio State and in the NFL,” said Domsitz, himself a Trotwood grad. “I haven’t talked to him this year. When he got the head coaching job at Trotwood, I sent him a note congratulating him, and he wrote back and said there’s some irony in this because you’re coaching at my alma mater and I’m coaching at your alma mater.”

Graham has continued the winning ways started by Maurice Douglass, a TMHS alum who coincidentally played 11 seasons in the NFL, too. Douglass left in 2014 to become coach at Springfield. His 13-year TMHS tenure included a state championship in 2011 and runner-up finishes in 2010, ’12 and ‘13.

“It was a great situation here,” Graham said. “I’ve got to give a lot of thanks to Maurice Douglass. Moe and I played together with the Chicago Bears. A lot of people don’t know our relationship. I’ve known Moe all my life. By me going to Chicago and playing in the NFL and him playing in the NFL, it was a good situation for us to come and coach. He gave me the opportunity to come here and be the receivers coach and then the offensive coordinator.”

FLASHBACK: Trotwood gives Graham first win as head coach

Earle Bruce recruited Graham out of high school, but he was replaced as Ohio State coach after Graham’s freshman season by John Cooper.

On a conference call Monday, Graham expressed gratitude to both men as well as Woody Hayes, the legendary Buckeye coach who passed away in 1987.

“(Playing at Ohio State) was a great experience,” Graham said. “I met a lot of great people and still keep in contact with all my teammates and friends, so it’ll be a little emotional for me to see that.

“But this isn’t about me, it’s more about what our kids have accomplished and the work they put in this past offseason and the commitment that they wanted to put themselves in this position.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Miami Valley Golf Club draws raves at Mid-Am

The Miami Valley Golf Club is one of Dayton’s jewels. I was reminded of that last week while spectating at the Ohio Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship. The neighborhood all around the club has declined terribly since I first saw it 60 years ago, but the golf course inside the perimeter fence still bears the mark of the great architect...
Outdoors: The best boating tip? Wear it!

Way back when I was a teenager — eons ago — I worked at my uncle’s boat landing on Indian Lake. All you old timers will remember that time for the riots that took place in the early 1960s in the town of Russells Point for a few years on Fourth of July weekends. It was the combination of college kids and beer, a recipe for an explosion...
Six-run sixth propels Dragons past Captains
Six-run sixth propels Dragons past Captains

The Dragons have been in a hitting slump through June but breathed fire into their bats Friday night against Lake County. Dayton had 12 hits in an 8-3 win over the Captains, five of which came during a six-run sixth inning. It was a welcome change for Dragons fans, especially against Lake County. Though the Dragons (42-30) were among the Midwest League&rsquo...
Sidney football standout commits to Big Ten school
Sidney football standout commits to Big Ten school

Sidney High School running back/safety Isaiah Bowser is headed to the Big Ten. The Yellowjackets’ senior-to-be on Friday gave a verbal commitment to play college football at Northwestern University. Bowser made the announcement on his Twitter account. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder led the Greater Western Ohio Conference — all divisions &mdash...
Kennard thrilled to be close to home with Pistons
Kennard thrilled to be close to home with Pistons

Among the many small details from the NBA Draft, Jennifer Kennard will remember the Cheetos. Luke Kennard’s mom survived a tense but thrilling evening by snacking at the table Thursday at the Barclays Center. There were also granola bars and other items for the draft prospects and their families, and when the Detroit Pistons selected the Franklin...
More Stories