COLUMBUS, Ohio – Forgive 6-foot-4 RHP John Kuchno if he doesn’t respond to being called “Big John”…yet. That’s because he’s only been big for less than two years. He grew four inches his freshman year at Wake Forest. Coach Mike Stafford saw him pitch this summer. Now he’s a Buckeye.
My name is pronounced like the word Butch: KUTCH-no. It’s Polish. My father is 100 percent Polish.
I went into college 6-foot-1 and grew to 6-foot-4 by the end of my freshman year. Now, I might be 6-foot-5. I really noticed I was growing the first time I got back onto the pitching mound last spring. The angle was a lot better.
It was a lot different pitching. I was always one who had to throw off speed, but suddenly I could overpower some people with a fast ball, and that’s a lot different for me. I’m still learning day-by-day to be a pitcher. The coaches are doing a great job helping me to stay tall and to use my height to my advantage.
It was unreal when coach Stafford introduced himself to me this summer. You dream about this kind of thing happening – a coach coming up and being interested in you – but once it happened it was a great day.
I was in the bullpen protecting someone at a tournament in Indianapolis. I wasn’t going to pitch until later in the game but someone came over to me and said the Ohio State coach was asking when I was going to pitch.
Coach Stafford got my number from a summer league coach and he called me later in the evening. I was at O’Charley’s with a few teammates. He told me he liked what he saw and Ohio State was interested. The fact that Ohio State was thinking about me was great to hear.
Not many people really believed what had happened with me…how hard I was suddenly throwing. It was a bizarre.
I feel blessed today. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity, although I have worked hard for this opportunity and I am grateful to coach Stafford for coming out and looking at me.
It’s great to be in battle with the guys. All of the offseason stuff is tough and it’s not easy. It’s great knowing you can help the team win and contribute.
I am double majoring in political science and journalism. I eventually want to go to law school.