Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


Looking back at old photos from state tournament’s past, from the attire worn it’s hard to tell who was where, and when.  But one thing is apparent.  Fashion has had nothing to do with MAC dominance in football.

Photographer and friend Jay Roman sent me some interesting photos this week from a couple of past state football tournaments involving Coldwater and Marion Local.

“Hey, take a look at what the coaches are wearing in these photos,”  he said.  “And then look at your shots from the last couple of years.  I think they’re wearing the exact same outfits.”

And to be sure, it does appear that Coldwater’s Chip Otten is wearing that same black hooded sweatshirt in photos from the 2012 championship game with Kirtland that he wore in 2014 when the Cavaliers won their third straight against Canton Catholic.

Coldwater's Chip Otten as he dressed for the 2012 title game with Kirtland.

Coldwater’s Chip Otten as he dressed for the 2012 title game with Kirtland.

And son of a gun…it kinda’ looks like Tim Goodwin’s wearing the same ball cap, the same blue pullover, and for all we know the same khaki trousers in Roman’s shots, that he was wearing in the images I made from the 2014 game with Norwalk St. Paul.

I can’t say for sure…I’m just sayin’.

And while everything relative to the 14 teams involved with this weekend’s championship with be endlessly hyper-analyzed for the sake of Sports Time Ohio and Warner Cable television coverage, it’s not hard to see that coaches either disregard fashion altogether when it comes to what they wear on game day…or they are, without a doubt, highly superstitious.

Different year, different team, but same shorts for Minster's Geron Stokes.

Different year, different team, but same shorts for Minster’s Geron Stokes.

Those photos actually tell you a lot, if you look close.  For one, Chip Otten has aged well in the past four years.  He doesn’t look a day older now than he did prior to that Kirtland game in 2012.  Four straight titles WILL keep you young.  I can’t speak for the sweatshirt.  Mrs. Otten would know more, I’m sure.

And while Goodwin has aged some, he started out younger to begin with.  In his case he’s just MATURED!

Now, if you’ve ever noticed Minster coach Geron Stokes…he doesn’t even wear pants.  He prefers shorts!  I’m thinking it has something to do with the fact of him preaching toughness to his kids all the time, and he punctuates that message by his choice to suffer with them on the sidelines.

I was there in 2014 the night Minster played West Liberty Salem at Alexander Stadium for the regional championship and Stokes was wearing the exact same pair of khaki shorts that he appeared to wear last Saturday night when they beat McComb in the state semi-final game.  It was about 38 degrees on Saturday;  but in 2014 it was a balmy 26 degrees, with piles of snow and a wind chill in the low teens.  Still, Stokes never flinched in those shorts, in those Nikes he wears…without socks!

Tim Goodwin at the 2012 title game against Newark Catholic.....

Tim Goodwin at the 2012 title game against Newark Catholic…..

And Tim Goodwin as he appeared at the to 2015 title game against Kirtland.

…and Tim Goodwin as he appeared at the to 2015 title game against Kirtland.  The hat’s different.

It’s not worth asking about, of course.  Every one of the fourteen coaches at this weekend’s finals has better things to consider presently than what they’re going to wear on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium.  But I’m guessing that these guys are either creatures of habit;  or, they carry a rabbit’s foot in their pocket.  At the very least…they dress for comfort and convenience.

Contrast that to some of the staffs that I see throughout the year that have the latest look from Nike or Adidas…but with last year’s losing record.  Lee Corso once famously said, “If you can’t play good, at least look like you’re capable of having a better job.”

In fact it was Corso who stopped the game one time while his Indiana team was leading Ohio State 7-6, and had a  photographer take a picture of him with the score in the background…for posterity.  The Buckeyes came back to win that day…47-7!

So if you think about this weekend, or you can’t decide on what to wear to the game, think like Chip Otten, Tim Goodwin, or Geron Stokes.  I know I do, but I hear it all the time, “You’re not wearing that again, are you?”

The good news:  It’s supposed to be shorts weather.

And would you rather be fashionable, or win?

Chip Otten doing his post-game interview in 2014, and sonuva' gun...he's wearing a black hooded sweatshirt!

Chip Otten doing his post-game interview in 2014, and sonuva’ gun…he’s wearing a black hooded sweatshirt!