Today was a historic day for Huber Heights Wayne High School. Its not every day, you can say a future NFL Draft Pick, one of the nations top college football coaches and many other important people come together in one room. But that was the case for this Montgomery County school.
This past season saw one of the nations top football players suit up for the Warriors. Marcus Freeman has become one of the all-time Warrior greats. With his feats the past few years, he became the first High School All-American at Wayne. Freeman, who has already enrolled at The Ohio State University, is not the only former Warrior who's part of the Buckeye football program. OSU has a couple of other Warrior players who have been part of their recent success. While the day started by honoring Marcus, their was another former Warrior / Buckeye who achieved another first for the Warrior Football Program.
1st. Team All-American Will Allen, of The Ohio State University is know for clutch plays that helped the Buckeyes win the National Title in 2002, and Fiesta Bowl over Kansas State this past season. Knowing his job on the field is one thing. Knowing what to say became another as Will showed his emotions by the end of the today's ceremonies.
THE TWO COACHES, WHO REALLY WANTS TO COACH THE WARRIORS?
The morning started with great anticipation of the arrival of Coach Jim Tressel. The Ohio State coach arrived at the school with assistant coach Jim Heacock to honor one of their own. The school was ready for the big day, and many from the community came to see this big event. The Coach took time to sign autographs in the Athletic Directors office before heading to the gym and a crowd that came to witness two Warrior Football first.
Master of ceremonies Kenny Gibbs, from the Wayne Football Alumni Club started the event with a reflection on this big day. In speaking about setting and reaching goals, Mr. Gibbs explained how a person like Will Allen has achieved those goals, and the importance in having a plan. His comments set the tone for the day.
KENNY GIBBS WAS STARTED THE PROGRAM
He then introduced Coach Jim Tressel of The Ohio State University. Coach Tressel opened his comments with the following statement.
"Its a pleasure for us to be here this morning with you. And, Its an exciting time for us at Ohio State to have a chance to honor one of the great ones, a great leader, a great player, a great young person and one of your own, Will Allen."
The coach explained how this day became a special event from help of some key Wayne people. He explained how excited he was to be there and talked about what type of coach Jay Minton is. He then explained about "The Attitude of Gratitude" that the team lives by and how grateful they felt about being part of great young men like Will Allen, John Hollins and Marcus Freeman. He then introduced Coach Heacock and Coach Dantonio who recruited and coached Will. He also took time to thank Coach Dantonio for the great work he did at Ohio State and the great job he's going to do at Cincinnati.
The coach then talked about the journey of success, and how each person can determine their success. The coach continued his great speech and had the student bodies attention during the whole period. Coach Tressel then ended his with the following poem that the team says before each game.
"I am only one
but I am one
I can't do everything
but I can do something
and that I can do
I ought to do
and what I ought to do
by the grace of god
I shall do"
THE COACH SPEAKS AND PEOPLE LISTEN
OPS NOTES: If you every get a chance to hear Coach Tressel speak, do it. He's one of the best speakers I have heard and can really get you fired up.
After the coach finished, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. The coach sat down thinking his day was over, only to have the next part of the program include him also. The Wayne High School Student Council presented a check for $1,000, from a blitz done in school last week, to the Jim Tressel Foundation.
A SPECIAL CHECK FOR THE TRESSEL FOUNDATION
After receiving the check, the coach was ready to sit down only to see a Wayne Varsity Jacket, provided by KB Sportswear of Huber Heights, presented to him. The coach enjoyed the jacket and wore it proudly for the rest of the event. At one time, Wayne Coach Jay Minton explained that he could remove the jacket if he got warm. Coach Tressel stated "I'm a Warrior now" and the crowd showed its pleasure in his statement.
THE JACKET SLIPS AND GOOD AND ALSO FITS
JACKET WAS DONATED BY KB SPORTSWEAR OF HUBER HEIGHTS
The next part of the program was the presentation from the Dayton Daily News. The DDN was there to present Marcus Freeman his Parade All-American plaque. Marcus who wanted to be there, couldn't attend because of a test back at OSU. His father accepted the plaque in his honor and asked the football team to stand and accept this honor with him. He then said Marcus had asked him to thank his teammates, coaches and teachers who have helped him achieve such an honor.
MARCUS FREEMAN PARADE PLAQUE
From there, the Mayor of Huber Heights presented a Key to the City to Will Allen. The plaque had a nice inscription and a gold key. The mayor read the inscription and then shake Will's hand after handing the plaque over.
THE MAYOR OF HUBER HEIGHTS GIVE THE KEY TO THE CITY AWAY
Next the final part of the ceremony. Coach Minton spoke about Will, but felt it best to allow a teammate and the coaches that had worked with Will to do the talking. John Hollins spoke about the first time he came across Will. John stated he didn't like Will much back then, and explained about their first meeting in a pee-wee football game. Will had stopped him from scoring. He then went on about the friendship and help Will has given him not only at Wayne, but also at Ohio State. John ended with the fact he looks at Will as a brother and expressed his feelings about their friendship.
ANOTHER FORMER WARRIOR AND CURRENT BUCKEYE JOHN HOLLINS
The first coach to speak was Coach Powell. Coach Powell talked about Will's first day at Wayne and the work ethic and leadership he displayed. He then continued with how special it was to be a small part of Will Allen as a player and to have the chance to watch him grow into the player he's become. The next coach was Pat Wood. Coach Wood has seen his share of Warrior greats, but expressed his feelings of what part Will played on the 1999 Warrior team that finished Runner-up in the Division I Championship. He talked about work ethic, and how much of a pleasure Will was to work with.
COACH POWELL SPEAKS ABOUT WILL
THE COACH AND PLAYER SHARE A SPECIAL MOMENT
COACH WOOD SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT WILL ALLEN
Then new Cincinnati Head Coach, Mark Dantonio spoke about Will and the job he did for the Buckeyes. He stressed the three key things that players need to be successful. Toughness, Effort and knowing what to do. He then claimed Will was a champion and express his love for his former player.
COACH DANTONIO TALKS ABOUT HIS FORMER PLAYER
At this time, Coach Minton started the final part of the ceremonies. With a covering, the Warrior coach brought forward a frame that held the first number ever retired by Wayne High School. The coach talked about what a special moment this was, and then Proclaimed the #4 would be retired for ever at Wayne High School.
WARRIOR COACH JAY MINTON WITH #4 FOR ALL-TIME WILL ALLEN
After this, Will took his turn at the mike. With his framed jersey beside him, he explained that Coach Tressel told him to have a speech prepared. At this time, you could tell emotions were starting to kick into gear. Having to stop and reflect, Will took his time and thanked all of the people who were there along the way. He talked about the town of Huber Heights and how they accepted him and his family. About the job teachers did in preparing him for college and the work and friendship displayed by coaches and former teammates. He also thanked his family for their support. In the end, Will came up with another big play that made him an All-American at OSU, and finished the speech strong.
WITH JERSEY BY HIS SIDE HE SPOKE ABOUT THE DAY
AT TIMES HE HAD TO STOP AS THE EMOTIONS STARTED
After all was said and pictures taken, I spoke to Will about the special day and what lies ahead. Will talked about how overwhelmed he was by the event. When asked about what NFL teams have shown interest, he said a few meetings have been planned and at this time it looks like he may be an upper second round pick. When asked if he was going to have a party, he replied he was going to be with his family.
A VERY PROUD FAMILY ON THE BIG DAY
In the end, Wayne High School and Will Allen will have many special memories about this day. Who knows, another jersey could be retired in the near future.
JOHN HOLLINS, COACH JAY MINTON, WILL ALLEN
THE LAST TWO COACHES FOR WILL ALLEN, WHO WILL BE HIS NEXT COACH?
FOREVER #4 WARRIOR ALWAYS WILL ALLEN