By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - Knox County alumni and friends of The Ohio State University packed the Glenn A. Gallagher Centre Tuesday night for the annual Buckeye Spirit Event. The event is held to raise scholarship dollars for local students who will attend OSU.
The featured speaker was former Ohio State All-American defensive lineman Matt Finkes. Local sports personality, host of WQIO's Sports Roundtable show Dave Bevington, introduced Finkes who had 59 career tackles for loss and had the third most sacks in school history. Today, Finkes is Associate Director of Development for the OSU Wexner Medical Center, a member of The Buckeye Fever show on WTTE, Fox 28 in Columbus and a radio talk show.
Matt Finkes at the Buckeye Spirit Event - KnoxPages.com photo by Marty Trese
Finkes spoke about the culture that is Ohio State. The culture is why the athletic teams are so good, the university demands excellence. He also spoke about the caring culture as evidenced by the alumni gathered to raise scholarship dollars for the next generation of students.
"Whether its winning football games, winning wrestling marches, or beating cancer [at the James Cancer Hospital], we are the best in the world at what we do. And that's the pride that comes from this university, from this alumni base and from the culture that we've created at Ohio State," said Finkes.
When asked about the new black jerseys worn by the Buckeyes in last Saturday's game vs. Penn State Finkes said, "I hate the new jerseys!" He continued, "I understand, I guess, the thinking behind it. To me, Saturday did not look like Ohio State playing. Not the way we played, just the uniforms. If a recruit needs to see black jerseys to sign to Ohio State, they can go play at Oregon and we'll beat them next year."
The evening also featured a welcome by club president Mary Crumm, Alumni Club Awards to Jan Schild and Sam Barone for their work with the club over the years, and the announcement of the scholarship winnners for 2015.
Those students, who are now studying at OSU, are Melissa Mickley of Danville, Julie Steady of Mount Vernon, Nathan Hill of East Knox, Makenzie Thorpe of Centerburg, Austin Stage of Mount Vernon, and the Upperclassman Awardee Robert Gregg of Fredericktown.
Auctioneer Jerry Scott led the auction of several pieces of signed OSU memorabilia, including a rare signed jersey by 1995 Heisman trophy winner Eddie George.
A highlight of the evening was the appearance by members of the Ohio State University Marching Band. They performed favorites such as Hang on Sloopy and Carmen Ohio. Assistant Director Sean DeLong said the band is headed to London, England's Wembley Stadium to perform at Sunday's NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. They'll perform a pre-game show of Beatles music.
Members of the MVHS Football team watch as the OSU Marching Band performs at the Buckeye Spirit Event
The drum major even led a Script Ohio through the dining room inviting audience members to join in. The Mount Vernon High School football team was in attendance and joined in the fun. Community sponsors made it possible for the team to attend and picked up the tab for their meals.
MVHS Head Football Coach Justin Todd said many of the team members had never had the opportunity to attend anything such as the Buckeye Spirit Event before and were most appreciative.