Hall: Still in the Family

Hall, a member of Jim Tressel's first recruiting class at Ohio State, is currently working for the university as an assistant to athletic director Gene Smith. Hall, who will always be remembered for scoring the winning touchdowns in consecutive victories over Illinois and Michigan in the magical 2002 season, talked about his career at Ohio State and his relationship with the university.

Maurice Hall will forever be remembered in Columbus as the player who scored the winning touchdown against Michigan in 2002. Hall's run led the Buckeyes to a 14-9 victory and a spot in the national championship game. The ensuing victory over the Miami Hurricanes was the crowning moment in Hall's career at Ohio State.

Today Maurice Hall is employed by the Ohio State University as an assistant to athletic director Gene Smith. Hall, a member of Jim Tressel's first recruiting at Ohio State, is putting his degree to good use and is laying the groundwork for a career in the business end of sports.

"I am an intern to Gene Smith in the athletic department," Hall explained. "I'm in the process of learning the business side of the sports world. I'm trying to learn every phase of this business. I'm in graduate school here for sports administration and my goal is to eventually be an athletic director at a major college."

Hall credits Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel for his development as a person, as well as an athlete. He talked about Tressel's influence in his life.

"When John Cooper was fired I wasn't sure what to do," Hall said. "I thought about going to Florida State, but then I met with coach Tressel the second day after he was hired. I knew within minutes of speaking with him that I wanted to play for him at Ohio State. It was a great decision to be sure. I could tell he was a very kind person who cared about his players as men. His leadership qualities were so evident. He helped me get better as a player, but more importantly he helped me be a better person. We still talk often. He spoke at my football camp recently and I know he's always there for me. I'm still very tight with the team today. Some of these guys were here when I played and I've stayed close to them"

Hall will be following the Buckeyes to Arizona to see them battle the Florida Gators for the national title. Of course he'll be there to see the game, but Hall has another reason to be in Glendale.

"I'll be signing autographs at the Buckeye Bash along with Craig Krenzel, Brandon Joe, Ben Hartsock and Mike Doss," Hall said. "All the proceeds go to the Second and Seven foundation started by Ryan Miller and Mike Vrabel. The program's goal is tackling illiteracy in Central Ohio. People are actually going into the elementary schools and reading to second graders. It's a chance to let the fans see some of the guys that were part of the 2002 national championship team and also gives them the chance to contribute to a great cause."

Hall, who is the all time OSU leader in kick return yardage, often thinks about that magical season of 2002 and the resulting national championship. He talked about that season and the win over Miami in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"That season was really a special time," Hall noted. "We started the season as a team of question marks really. We just started winning and found a way to win each week. Things just kept building and our confidence grew each week. We just felt we couldn't lose. Every game was tight but we always found a way and it usually was a different hero each week. I had some good moments personally. Scoring the game winning touchdowns against Illinois and Michigan is something special. I also remember playing well against Minnesota and I think I had close to 100 yards rushing in the fourth quarter. The ultimate thrill was winning the championship against Miami. That's why every athlete comes to Ohio State."

Hall talked about the players on the 2002 championship team and how close that team became throughout the season.

"Our secret was that while we had a team of great players, we also had a team of great people," he said. "Every great team needs great leaders and we had a lot of them. I think there was a bond that became solidified by winning. When you look where we started and see where we finished, it was truly special. Anybody who was in that stadium that night will never, ever forget it."

Hall also spoke about the current group of Buckeyes and what it will take for them to won the title against Florida.

"I have mixed feelings to tell you the truth," Hall continued. "I think Ohio State is clearly the better team and probably should win by 10 to 14 points. I really feel Michigan is a better team than Florida. The thing that scares me is how much the Gators remind me of our team in 2002. We were the underdogs but we never thought we were underdogs. This Florida team is similar to us in that aspect. The difference will probably be Jim Tressel. He's been through this type of situation so many times and he knows how to win the big games. I think Ohio State will win but it could be a real battle."

Maurice Hall is living proof that there is life after football. Hall represents all that is right about college football. There is no doubt that this young man is prepared to be successful in whatever field he chooses.

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