March 16, 2011 —
By Bill Mullaly
Hudson High School was well represented on Monday night at the annual National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Banquet in Toledo, Ohio. The 49th annual edition of the NFF and HOF awards dinner had two Hudson Tigers as special guests. The annual event is for high school football players and coaches in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The players honored by the Wistert Chapter of the NFF and HOF are scholar-athletes who have excelled on the field, in the classroom and in their community. From Hudson, senior outside linebacker-defensive back Nathaniel Osborne was selected to attend the event. Also, chosen to attend the ceremony was Tiger head football coach Chris Luma. The two Tigers were in select company as players and coaches honored by the NFF and HOF. The guest speaker for the event was The Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel.
The Tiger three-sport athlete was chosen as one of just 31 Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan scholar-athletes and he was an obvious selection by the committee. He has accomplished a 3.91 grade point average and is in the top ten of his graduating class for 2011. Playing in defensive coordinator’s Danny Rogers’ complex defensive schemes it was Osborne who as the “Tiger backer” was one of the leaders of the defense. Osborne was named to the first team all-LCAA honor squad and was chosen by the Tiger coaching staff as it Defensive Player-of-the-Year. To be selected for this NFF and HOF honor a player must have a 3.25 grade point average or higher and at least be an all-league or all-county selection. They also must be involved in their community. Osborne is a National Honor Society member, is in the Student Council, was selected to Michigan’s Boys State program and he is active in his church’s youth group. “Nathaniel was a very good choice to represent Hudson football and we as a coaching staff are very proud of what he has done in the classroom and on the field,” said Luma, who noted that it was tough to have just one Tiger player chosen as both Drew Milligan and Meiko McDaniel also would have been fine candidates. Osborne had a busy day as he had to be in the Toledo-Maumee area at 4:00 on Monday afternoon to go with the other 30 scholar-athletes to visit children at a Toledo area children’s hospital. Also, at the hospital to meet the players and spend some time with the children was Tressel who had his picture taken with the football players. After the visitation the players were bussed back to the Masonic Temple for the awards dinner at the Stranahan Great Hall. There was a meet and greet session where people could talk with coach Tressel and have their picture taken with the highly-successful Buckeye gridiron leader. “This was a very special honor to be picked to attend this event,” said Osborne, who after finishing basketball is now ready to play baseball this spring. “It is a great experience to be honored like this and it really something to be a part of this.”
Osborne will attend college at Toledo University where he will become involved in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He has not decided yet on an area of study but is strongly considering trying out for the Rocket football team at TU. “Nathaniel was one of the keys to our defense and he had a great year playing a tough position that required him to be both a linebacker and defensive back,” said Hudson defensive coach Rogers, who also attended the event. Osborne was given a nice plaque and had his picture taken with coach Tressel.
Osborne is the son of Michael and Nancy who were also in attendance to see their son honored. In another neat moment during the awards ceremony Zach Akenberger, a cousin of Osborne, was chosen for a Bowling Green State University Post Graduate Scholarship.
Luma Recognized Again
For the second straight March Tiger head coach Luma was in the Toledo area for this annual event. This was Luma’s third visit overall to this event as he was selected also back in 2004 when he and Tiger runningback Scott Rupnow were honored as scholar-athlete and coach. “This is a special event and something like this is a reflection of the very successful season we had,” said Luma, who attended the event with his trusted defensive assistant Rogers. Hudson won the school’s first-ever state championship in football last November after finishing as the state runner-up the season before in 2009. The 14-0 Tigers captured that elusive state title with a Division 7 state championship win over Ishpeming back on Thanksgiving weekend winning the final game 28-26. For that coaching achievement Luma was selected as just one of 15 area coaches after leading the Tigers to another great season on the gridiron where his teams have won 27 of its last 28 games. Hudson currently owns a 23-game regular season winning streak. In Luma’s 14 years his teams have won 119 games with 38 losses for a winning percentage of .758. Luma’s teams have reached the playoffs 11 times in his 14 seasons with state runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2003. The Tigers under his leadership have won seven LCAA crowns, six district championships and four regional titles. The veteran coach has been involved with the Hudson football program in some coaching capacity for the past 25 years.
“It is an honor to be selected to come down here to this event,” said Luma, who feels this is a team award. “There are some very good coaches in southeast Michigan. I have to give much of the credit to my coaching staff and to our players for the success we have had, especially the past two years.”Hudson’s run to the state title this year was bouyed by its explosive running game where Luma’s brother, Mark, coaches the offensive line. Then the Tiger defense keyed this title run as Danny’s D shut down some very powerful offenses this past fall. “I can’t say enough about the work of my assistants,” said Luma.
The embattled and controversial Buckeye football coach was in the Toledo area making his first public appearances since he was hit with a university imposed two-game suspension at the start of next season. Tressel spoke about having an “Attitude of Gratitude” and told the players in attendance to count their blessings compared to their challenges in life and he guarantees the blessings will be many more. He told the players that they need to be leaders and that they will need to battle adversity in their lives just as he has recently. He told them to develop a plan and to work hard to achieve it. If you make a mistake acknowledge it just as he admitted he made a mistake in the events leading to his suspension. He mentioned to the players to have faith in their beliefs and to keep things good or bad in perspective, Finally, he mentioned that there are no shortcuts to accomplishing great things.
Tressel had his picture taken with all 31 scholar-athletes and with the 15 coaches. Two of his autographed Ohio State footballs were auctioned off for $650 each and then the coach was gone for a return trip to Columbus and the beginning of the Buckeyes spring football practice. “We heard Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez talk last year and I liked what Tressel said a bit better,” said Luma, who wouldn’t mind attending next year’s NFF and HOF event. If that letter in the mail comes next January then it will have meant his players and coaching staff put together another strong run at LCAA and state championships.