Most Ohio State basketball fans know Bill Hosket from his all-conference playing days in the late 1960s to a broadcast career that has spanned four decades and continues to this day.
But did you know that Hosket’s father, known as Bill Sr., was also an All-Big Ten performer at Ohio State and that today would have been his 98th birthday?
Wilmer Clemons Hosket was born Feb. 19, 1911, in Dayton, Ohio, and became a championship basketball player at almost every level. Hosket, who eventually grew to stand just shy of 6-5, starred at Stivers High School in Dayton for head coach Floyd Stahl. Stahl would later serve eight seasons from 1951-58 as head coach at Ohio State.
With Hosket at the pivot, the Tigers won three consecutive state championships from 1928 to 1930, posting an 80-7 record during that span. Six of those losses occurred during Hosket’s sophomore season. At the time he was a high school player, Hosket was considered the finest basketball prospect ever produced by the state of Ohio.
After his graduation from Stivers, Hosket joined Ohio State head coach Harold “Tubby” Olsen’s program. Olsen, who at 24 seasons coached longer than any other basketball coach in school history, was looking to snap a string of second-division finishes in the Western Conference after leading the Buckeyes to their first league championship in 1925.
Hosket played mostly in a reserve role during his first couple of seasons at Ohio State. Those years featured lineups that included such standouts as Wes Fesler and Lew Hinchman – both of which were three-time football All-Americans – as well as Richard Larkins, captain of the 1931 team who went to become director of athletics at Ohio State from 1947-70.
Unfortunately, the OSU basketball teams during that time were not very competitive. The Buckeyes finished no higher than a tie for fifth place in the conference between 1926 and 1932, and had back-to-back ninth-place finishes in ’30 and ’31.
Hosket finally cracked the starting lineup at the beginning of the 1932-33 season and immediately paid dividends for Olsen. With a supporting cast that included captain Howard Mattison, former Stivers teammate Bob Colburn and Hinchman, Hosket became a dominating inside force. He was an excellent passer, could shoot the ball with either hand and became one of the premier post players in college basketball. As a result, Ohio State won 15 of their first 16 games during that season and went on to capture the school’s first Western Conference title in eight years.
The Buckeyes finished with a 17-3 record that season with Mattison earning first-team all-conference merit at guard and Hosket receiving first-time honors at center.
After the 1932-33 season, Hosket left Ohio State and played in the Midwest League and upstart National Basketball League as a member of the Dayton Metropolitans. After two seasons with the Metros, he played semipro ball before joining the famed Waterloo Wonders in 1940. The Wonders went from a high school team that won back-to-back Ohio state championships in the mid-1930s to a professional barnstorming squad that toured the country. Hosket played for the Wonders in 1940, a team that defeated both the original Boston Celtics as well as the Harlem Globetrotters.
Hosket returned to his hometown in 1941 and played for the Dayton Suchers, named for the Sucher Meat Packing Co. in the Gem City.
When his playing days were over, Hosket became a basketball official and refereed on both the high school and college levels.
Unfortunately, Hosket did not live to see his son become a basketball star. After a battle against leukemia, he died Dec. 29, 1956, at the age of 45. It was just nine days after Bill Jr. had celebrated his 10th birthday.
The younger Hosket – who technically is not Bill Jr. because his middle name is Frederick – went on to win a high school state championship at Dayton Belmont, a Big Ten championship with Ohio State in 1968, an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. basketball team at the ’68 Summer Games in Mexico City and an NBA title as member of the New York Knicks in 1970.
He led the Buckeyes in scoring and rebounding during each of his three varsity seasons and became the first OSU Academic All-American in basketball, an honor Hosket went on to win three times.
Perhaps his proudest achievement, however, came when he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1968. That made the Hoskets the first father-son combination ever named first-team All-Big Ten in the history of the conference, and they remain the only ones to hold that distinction.
In 2006, the Hoskets received another joint honor when they were included in the inaugural class of inductees to the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame. Also in that inaugural class was the Dayton Stivers teams on which the elder Hosket played.
Bill Sr. received one more posthumous award in 2006 when he was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Stivers High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Today’s other Buckeye birthday belongs to former Ohio State cornerback William White. William Eugene White was born Feb. 19, 1966, in Lima, Ohio, and was a star tailback and punt returner for Lima Senior High School before concentrating on defense when he signed with the Buckeyes in 1984. White became a four-year starter at cornerback at OSU and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1987. He finished his career tied for third on the career interceptions list with 16 and is one of only nine Buckeyes ever to record three interceptions in a single game. White was a fourth-round selection by Detroit in the 1988 NFL draft, and he played 11 pro seasons with the Lions, Chiefs and Falcons. When he retired after the 1998 season, White had 20 career interceptions, averaging 15.5 yards per return, and recovered three fumbles, returning two of those for touchdowns.
Other luminaries sharing birthdays this 19th day of February: Motown legend William “Smokey” Robinson is 69; Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Paul Krause is 67; Sixties pop singer Lou Christie (“Lightnin’ Strikes”) is 66; Loverboy lead guitarist Paul Dean is 63; Black Sabbath guitarist and founding member Tony Iommi is 61; novelist Amy Tan (“The Joy Luck Club”) is 57; Argentina president Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner is 56; actor Jeff Daniels is 54; English author Helen Fielding (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”) is 51; Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is 49; retired four-time Grand Slam champion tennis player Hana Mandlíková is 47; Grammy winning singer Seal (born Seal Henry Olusegun Kwassi Olumide Adelo Samuel) is 46; Eighties television actress Justine Bateman is 43; Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro (“Traffic”) is 42; Memphis Grizzlies forward Mike Miller is 29; and singer/actress Haylie Duff is 24.
An eclectic group of celebrities also died on this day in history. They include military aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell, actress Madge Blake (Aunt Harriet on the “Batman” television series); original AC/DC frontman Bon Scott; Italian actor Adolfo Celi (Bond villain Emilio Largo in “You Only Live Twice”); Oakland A’s owner Charles O. Finley; Chinese Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping; county music legend Grandpa Jones; and prolific film director Stanley Kramer, who directed such dramatic classics as “The Defiant Ones,” “Inherit The Wind,” “Judgment at Nuremberg” and “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” as well as broad comedies like “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Many of Kramer’s films won technical and acting Academy Awards, but he never took home an Oscar for direction.
** NFL draft expert Mel Kiper has some words of wisdom for former Ohio State players prepping for this weekend’s NFL Combine: Do well or don’t bother to stay by the phone on the first day of the draft. “Malcolm Jenkins, if he’s runs a great 40 time, could be a top 10 pick,” Kiper said recently. “If not, he could be viewed as a safety (and his draft status will drop). I think this combine is as important for him as anybody in this draft.” Meanwhile, Kiper was a even more blunt regarding a pair of ex-OSU linebackers when he said, “James Laurinaitis’ stock has dropped from the beginning of the year, and Marcus Freeman’s stock has dropped. They need to have good workouts.”
** With starting quarterback Steven Threet deciding to leave the team and seek a transfer, does this mean Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez has to go back to square one again with his offense? That is a scary thought for U-M fans hopeful that last year’s 3-9 record was a one-year aberration. The Wolverines ranked dead last in the Big Ten last season in pass offense, total offense and turnover margin. Tough to see how Rodriguez’s team can improve those stats while breaking in another new starting quarterback.
** From the recruiting leftover file: Wide receiver DeAngelo Benton of Bastrop, La., committed to LSU two seasons ago but was unable to satisfy academic requirements for freshman eligibility. No problem. LSU head coach Les Miles tucked the 6-2, 190-pound Benton securely away at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., and then got reassurance from the receiver on the weekend before signing day that Benton would sign with the Tigers this year. Less than 24 hours before signing day, Benton was still telling everyone he would sign with LSU. The following day, Benton did indeed sign – with Auburn. Is there any wonder why so much animosity exists between SEC football coaches?
** Here’s a little quiz for you. What do guys named Jim Schwartz, Jim Caldwell, Rex Ryan and Raheem Morris have in common? Would you believe they are all head coaches in the National Football League? The NFL boasts 10 new head coaches, including seven who have never led teams before. Schwartz takes over in Detroit, Caldwell succeeds Tony Dungy in Indianapolis, Ryan will lead the New York Jets and Morris will be in charge in Tampa Bay. The other three newbies: Josh McDaniels in Denver, Todd Haley in Kansas City and Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis.
** Not sure what this means but IRL driver Danica Patrick’s tattoo of an American flag that adorns her lower back was airbrushed out of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Last year, Patrick’s flag tattoo was visible in her swimsuit issue photos. Discuss.