COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18 jersey worn by Ohio State head baseball coach Bob Todd for the past 23 years was officially retired Saturday by the Dept. of Athletics prior to the start of Todd’s final game as coach of the Buckeyes. A 4-3 loss earlier in the day against Minnesota eliminated the Buckeyes from Big Ten tournament contention. The on-field ceremonies at Bill Davis Stadium were held with members of Todd’s family, including wife, Glenda, sons Scott, Jeff and Brad, daughter Stacey, daughters-in-law Debbie and Lauren and all seven of his grandchildren by his side.
A framed replica of Todd’s jersey was presented to the coach by two longtime friends of Ohio State baseball, Bill Wells and Pete Hauck. Surrounding Todd during the presentation were members of his final team, many of whom were part of Todd’s seventh Big Ten championship-winning team from one year ago. Approximately 40 former Ohio State players were also on the field.
“Baseball can’t be played in Bill Davis Stadium without No. 18 in it,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Pat Chun said as grounds crew workers unveiled a four-square-foot round plaque in right field with Todd’s name, number and years coached at Ohio State, symbolizing the official retirement of his jersey.
Todd, who had announced May 5 he would retire from coaching following this 2010 season, retires as the winningest coach in Ohio State history.
“Obviously, I’m caught off guard a little bit,” Todd said to the crowd that numbered over 2,200 for the games. “Let me just say that I have been blessed to be able to work at this great university for this long. I really never expected that to happen. But all of the successes that you just heard about are because of these players behind me.
“I am very fortunate that the sport I coach allows the coaches to put a number on their back, thus the retirement. There are many great coaches all around the country and baseball coaches are some that are very fortunate that they get to wear a uniform and a number. I feel very privileged to have coached baseball and to have coached it here at Ohio State. I can tell you that the many friends that I have in the baseball community are cherished.”
Constructed a Stadium
The jersey retirement before his final game was testament to the legacy Todd built in 39 years as a coach. It can be argued that Bob Todd did more for his sport than any Ohio State coach has done for a sport. He took a program that hadn’t won a Big Ten title in over 20 years and made it a championship program; a program respected nationally.
Todd was the heart, soul and driving force behind the construction of the $4.7 million Bill Davis Stadium. Its completion in 1997 set in motion facility and baseball program upgrades throughout the Midwest. And going forward, Bill Davis Stadium will be a foundation of the Todd legacy that future Buckeyes and fans will always enjoy. Can anything be more significant than a first-class stadium?
Built a Champion Program
Todd’s deeds and achievements are highlighted by the teams he put on the field. His teams had class. They respected the game, the opponent and tradition. They were the best in the Big Ten. Ohio State won seven Big Ten championships, had eight first-place finishes in the Big Ten regular season and captured eight Big Ten tournament titles under Todd. No Big Ten team won or accomplished more.
Todd’s Ohio State teams played in 13 NCAA Regionals, two NCAA Super Regionals and twice came one win away from the College World Series. Bill Davis Stadium helped the Midwest break new ground by hosting two NCAA Regionals and two Super Regionals. Meanwhile, 72 of Todd’s players signed professional contracts, 19 were All-Americans and eight were Academic All-Americans.
Never Had a Losing Season
Todd never had a losing season in 27 years as a head coach and he won 30 or more games 24 consecutive years. His 22 consecutive 30-win seasons at Ohio State, which ended this year, was topped by only five teams nationally. His all-time record stands at 1,025-559-2 and his teams were 413-236 in the Big Ten.
The first five-time winner of the Big Ten Coach of the Year award, Todd is in the American Baseball Coaches Association (2009) and the Ohio State Varsity “O” (2008) Halls of Fame. He was an assistant coach for Team USA on two occasions. And on Feb. 21, 2010 vs. Richmond, he coached his 1,000th victory, becoming just the 42nd Division I coach to achieve the milestone.
His team defeated Minnesota, 9-6, in the series finale to send the coach off with a win in his final game.