OSU superfan ‘Buckeyeman’ says Urban Meyer’s retirement news made his jaw drop


Ohio State superfan “Buckeyeman,” known for his scarlet and gray wig, face paint, strings of buckeye necklaces and jersey, is almost as famous as mascot Brutus.

Little concerning the Buckeyes football team gets by Larry Lokai, 76, of Urbana, an OSU grad, former Urbana councilman and retired educator.

RELATED: Urban Meyer: Legacy secure, Ohio State football coach giving way to Ryan Day

But after dismissing months of rumors he’s heard about Head Coach Urban Meyer’s departure, he said he was shocked by Tuesday’s retirement announcement.

PHOTOS: Urban Meyer through the years with Ohio State Buckeyes

“My jaw dropped three inches this morning,” he said. “After the Big Ten championship game and going to the Rose Bowl, I thought Urban was a lock for the next five or six years.”

Meyer, 54, struggled this season with painful headaches caused by an arachnoid cyst on his brain. His health was cited as a reason for his retirement.

RELATED: What is an arachnoid brain cyst? Urban Meyer to retire at Ohio State

Lokai, who said he first met Meyer in August of 2012, said he supports Meyer’s decision and Ohio State’s choice in a replacement.

Ryan Day, offensive coordinator, steps into the role after the Rose Bowl. Day served as coach for the first three games of the season, when Meyer was suspended after the university determined he mishandled abuse allegations against a former assistant coach.

RELATED: Who is Ryan Day? 5 things to know about Urban Meyer’s replacement at Ohio State

“Things really looked good the first three games,” Lokai said. “Urban is turning the realm over to what I think is a very quality coach, a guy whose come up through the system, a guy that has actually had experience at all levels. It’s kind of a relief that we now know who the coach is going to be that’s following Urban, but it’s very sad that Urban is leaving.”

Lokai said it’s been 76 years since a coach retired — “all the rest of them got the boot.”

Lokai praised Ohio State for naming a successor right away, and said it will go a long way in recruiting.

“The recruits know right now Ryan Day has had a successful record. He’s 3 and 0 at Ohio State as a coach. They’ve watched how he runs his offense. The most important thing Ohio State did today was they kept all the key people … a person can come in and know they have the same format, they just have a different person running the ship.”

OTHER COVERAGE:

Goals don’t change for Ohio State under new coach Ryan Day: ‘No 1, win the rivalry game. No. 2, win every game after that’

Urban Meyer: 5 highlights from his coaching career

Ohio State great Cris Carter on Urban Meyer: ‘He wants to coach, but he can’t do it anymore’

How does Urban Meyer compare to Ohio State’s greatest coaches?


Reader Comments


Next Up in Local

Going to concerts, games and events in Columbus is about to get more expensive 
Going to concerts, games and events in Columbus is about to get more expensive 

It is going to soon be more expensive to attend many events, games and concerts in Columbus. >> MUST-TRY: These beefy burgers are well worth the drive east on I-70 Columbus City Council enacted a 5 percent admission tax on most arts and cultural events in the city, Monday night, according to the Columbus Dispatch and other...
Off-duty Dayton cop attended police ball before burglary arrest where he appeared drunk, telling officers: ‘I’m going to throw up in the back seat of your car.’ 
Off-duty Dayton cop attended police ball before burglary arrest where he appeared drunk, telling officers: ‘I’m going to throw up in the back seat of your car.’ 

Hours before his arrest on suspicion of burglary after allegedly kicking in a door of a residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 11, off-duty Dayton Police Officer Torrence E. LaPrath attended a police ball held at the Dayton FOP hall, a Dayton Daily News investigation found. Dayton FOP President Rick Oakley confirmed that LaPrath attended the...
Area stores to stay open 83 nonstop hours leading up to Christmas
Area stores to stay open 83 nonstop hours leading up to Christmas

Kohl’s won’t close its doors for 83 straight hours leading up to Christmas, giving even the night owls a chance to shop at the stores. Once Kohl’s stores open at 7 a.m. Dec. 21, it won’t close again until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, an annual shopping marathon. »BIZ BEAT: Online holiday shopping expected to logjam delivery:...
Report: Christmas presents stolen from Dayton garage
Report: Christmas presents stolen from Dayton garage

A Grinch broke into a Dayton woman’s garage and stole multiple Christmas presents, according to a police report. The woman told police that she noticed the Delphos Avenue home’s garage was partially open around 9:30 a.m. Monday. When she checked the garage, she saw that Christmas presents she was keeping in there were missing. The...
12 Days of Cheese starts at area grocery store: You won’t believe the 11th day
12 Days of Cheese starts at area grocery store: You won’t believe the 11th day

Whole Foods Market on Wednesday will kick off its 12 Days of Cheese. Every day starting Wednesday, the retailer will have a new cheese priced 50 percent off. Amazon Prime members will also get another 10 percent off the sale price. “From funky to mild, creamy to crumbly, these cheeses aren’t just any cheeses; we searched the world to find...
More Stories