Not bad for a kid who never played organized football in high school.
Bill Anders will be inducted this fall in to the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony and dinner is 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at Ohio State’s Covelli Center. The class will be introduced at Ohio State when the Buckeyes football team hosts Arkansas State on Sept. 10.
Tickets for the dinner and induction ceremony are $100 each and can be purchased online. Anyone attending specifically for Anders should contact the Engagement Center at 1-800-762-5646 to have it noted on their registration. The Engagement Center can also help if you are having trouble registering for the event.
Of note in the class of inductees is Charles W. Bolen, better known as “Shifty” Bolen who was a football and basketball coach at Wilmington College from 1923 to 1929. Bolen was inducted in to the first class of the Wilmington College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.
Anders said former teammate and OSU hall of famer Jan White called him about a month ago. White, who is on the hall of fame selection committee Anders said, left a message.
“Over the years, we’ve talked quite a few times, so it wasn’t unusual for him to call,” Anders said, not thinking of the hall of fame as the reason. Anders received his official letter on Saturday.
“It was definitely a surprise,” he said. “I would have never expected it at this late stage. From the time it (the OSU Hall of Fame) started, you can’t help but think about it. Maybe it’s possible (to be inducted). Every year you hope a little bit, thinking how nice it would be. When it does happen, you gotta let it sink in a while.”
Anders credits White with getting him in, 54 years after graduating.
“Jan took my place in ‘68 and I worked with him,” Anders said of the White, who was a freshman when Anders was a senior. “There’s not much I could do, though. He was faster and better. He told me when my name was brought up, there was no question about it. Instantly accepted. Everybody approved of it.”
Anders was the first inductee into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He attended Sabina High School (class of 1963) but because the school was so small it did not have a football team. Instead, Anders was a three-sport standout in basketball, baseball and track/field.
While he played pickup games with other county athletes, Anders never had formal training in football until he arrived in Columbus.
In a story at the time of his induction in to the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame, Anders said of his initial practice under Woody Hayes, “I recognized the helmet. I recognized the shoulder pads … but I recognized nothing else.
“It was six weeks before I got the equipment on right. I got dressed and undressed 15 times the first day (of camp) before I got it right.”
A 1968 graduate of Ohio State, Anders had a 25-244-1 (receptions-yards-touchdowns) receiving line in 1965 then 55-671-2 in 1966. His senior year numbers were 28-403-3 when he was named team captain and earned All-Big Ten honors in 1967.
Anders set an Ohio State record for receptions in a game, grabbing 12 for 162 yards against Washington in 1966. That record remained until 1981 when Wilmingtonian and fellow Clinton County Sports Hall of Famer Gary Williams established a new standard.
While Anders receiving numbers pale in comparison to today’s game of football at most levels, it was remarkable given the “three yards and a cloud of dust” mantra associated with Hayes.
In fact, Anders was the only player in Hayes’ 28 seasons as head coach to catch more than 40 passes in a season.
The 55 catches in 1966 was a record until broken by Cris Carter in 1985. Williams broke Anders’ career catches mark of 108 when he caught 154 passes from 1979-82. He was the career receiving leader at Ohio State until 1983.
He was voted by best Ohio State player to wear No. 81 by the Eleven Warriors website.