Over the summer we (and by “we” I mean “I”) began a series of exhaustive (and by “exhaustive” I mean “nowhere near complete”) lists of items related to each SEC coach. Realizing that for some of them this sort of thing made more sense in-season, and in light of the fact that it began to look like there might actually be a college football season, I shelved them until the right time.
But before that particular horse got out of the barn, I released one related to Kentucky coach Mark Stoops. I’m back to update that list, a list of people from Youngstown, Ohio who happen to be more famous than noteworthy Youngstownian Mark Stoops. Enjoy.
Being the college football coach at the University of Kentucky is a fantastic gig. No really, think about it.
While the guys in Baton Rouge, Tuscaloosa, and Athens are sweating what will happen if they only win ten games this season, you’ve get a statue on campus if you do it. If you ever won an SEC East title they’d probably just hand you the keys to Keeneland. “It’s yours, buddy. You earned it.”
If the basketball team is a national title contender no one even notices you losing to Vanderbilt. If the basketball team just lost to Ole Miss everyone in Lexington is too angry about it to care if you lost to Berea College.
Speaking of Lexington, it’s a grossly underrated college town situated among rolling green hills. People there let the UK football coach eat a steak with his family in peace. And Mark Stoops loovvveesss that about it. It is the quintessential unassuming lair for the world’s most unassuming college football coach. Lexington’s no Athens or Chapel Hill, but its a dang sight prettier than, I don’t know, Youngstown.
Not coincidentally, Youngstown happens to be the ancestral home of Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, not to mention his more famous football coaching brothers: Bob, Mike, Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy, and Dopey.
Scratch that. “Grumpy Stoops” is actually fellow Youngstown native, former Notre Dame head coach, and shoegaze DJ Bob Davie. But then Mark Stoops is probably used to not being the most famous person in his family, much less his hometown. Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes on this, the Exhaustive List of People from Youngstown, Ohio More Famous Than Mark Stoops.
- Actor Ed O’Neill. That’s right, Al Bundy himself actually matriculated down the field as a star player at Youngstown’s Worthington High rather than Polk High, winning a state championship and earning a football scholarship to Ohio University.
- Robert and Ronald Bell, founding members of Kool & The Gang. Mark Stoops, by contrast, has never been accused of being cool and never ran with any gang. Unless you count the Northside Gangsta Webelos Scouts.
- Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Brad Hennessey. Mark Stoops finds the name “Brad” overly self-confident, and tried Hennessey only once because it made his ears itch.
- Thomas Bopp, amateur astronomer noteworthy for discovering the Hale Bopp comet. At the time Bopp was employed at a construction materials company and actually made the discovery using a telescope he borrowed from someone else. That’s eastern Ohio as hell, friends.
- O.A.R. saxophonist Jerry DePizzo. Like Mark Stoops he’s made a career out of disappointing people who couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Saxophonist for O.A.R. is definitely the Kentucky head football coach of rock n’ roll gigs.
- Television producer Michael Trikilis. Trikilis was the creative mind behind Hugh Hefner’s launch of Playboy TV in the early 80’s. For some reason he’s not on the Youngstown Chamber of Commerce Wall of Fame. But then, neither is Mark Stoops.
- Albert, Harry, Jack, and Sam Warner. The four brothers grew up on Youngstown’s northside before founding their namesake entertainment conglomerate, Warner Bros. in 1923. None of their descendants plans to make, finance, or otherwise acknowledge my script for The Mark Stoops Story, not that I’m bitter.
- Bernie Kosar. The pride of Boardman High and perhaps the NFL’s most distinguished quarterback of Hungarian descent. Kosar threw for 23,301 yards in the pros, which Mark Stoops finds just a little excessive.
- Ron Jaworski. Yet another quarterback from the mean streets of Youngstown more well-known that Stoops Doggy Dog. Before Jaws was flapping his jaws on ESPN he starred at Youngstown State.
- DawgOutWest’s great uncle Ed Strauss. Seriously, Uncle Ed was a longtime coach at Boardman High and Youngstown State, an icon of the Mahoning River valley. Have you ever heard anyone call Mark Stoops an icon? Didn’t think so.
11. Bob DiPiero, acclaimed country music song writer. DiPiero wrote “My Baby is American Made” for the Oak Ridge Boys, his first #1 hit but not his last. Also wrote “Money in the Bank” for John Anderson, arguably the greatest composition in the Great American Song Book. Mark Stoops has written precisely zero hits for John Anderson.
12. Bob Stoops. Basically Mark Stoops, except spent years forced to live in Norman, Oklahoma during the summer and get yelled at for losing to Texas. What a sucker.
If I left off any other famous Youngstownians please feel free to drop their names and accomplishments in the comments. Until later…