Former Buckeye and WWII vet Charles Csuri was an inspiration behind OSU’s throwback jerseys

By Robert Gartrell

OSU Lantern – Nov. 22, 2010

Former Ohio State lineman Charles Csuri was hesitant to go to New York City on Sept. 1, even though coach Jim Tressel pleaded for him to do so.

Nike was unveiling its line of Pro Combat jerseys, and OSU’s uniforms were to resemble the ones worn by the 1942 squad, which Csuri was a part of, that brought the school its first national championship.

In an attempt to distance itself from creating another stale marketing gimmick, Nike designed the uniforms to pay homage to the team members who traded their OSU uniforms for those of the Armed Forces during World War II. Csuri served as a corporal in the Army during the war, and Tressel wanted him at the event to speak at the press conference.

Csuri reluctantly decided to attend the unveiling after his wife persuaded him. But at 88, getting around isn’t as easy for him as it once was, even though his dark hair and firm handshake belie his age.

At the event, Csuri spoke to a crowd of media about his former teammates while standing next to a stagehand dressed in the uniform. Unknown to him, there was a bronze star on the helmet and gloves with his initials printed on them.

When someone from Nike pointed the star out to Csuri as he was leaving the stage, he realized why Tressel was begging him to go.

“I was surprised, flattered, honored and slightly embarrassed,” Csuri said of the decal. “It was nice.”

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