Home of the 1972 MAC Champions

Brock Harrington

Contrary to what you see, Kent State has a flashy future.

“Anything but Kent.”

I spent an entire summer covering Ohio high school recruiting at Ohiovarsity.com, and “anything but Kent” was a moniker I put on some of the athletes I talked to.

That isn’t a surprise, considering most future college students aren’t born with a desire to attend Kent State. And I’m sure that some non-student athletes have come to Kent State thinking that Harvard or Yale must have misplaced their transcripts.

But you’re here now, so let your hair down, sit back in your futon, live up the college life you have always dreamed of and enjoy four (but probably closer to six) years of Division I college sports.

Some of your friends are living the “Big Ten” life in Columbus or the “stay at home life” in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron or Cincinnati. You freshmen Flashes are at Kent State – the home of the 1972 Mid-American Conference football champions and also the home of the men’s basketball team that scored 10 points in the first half against UNLV in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

But you know what? There are a lot of good, great, grand and historical things that surround Kent State athletics.

And you now own season tickets for every single home game, match and tournament for the Kent State Golden Flashes.

(Contrary to what you may think a Golden Flash may be, a Golden Flash is a ferocious, bloodthirsty eagle – all true but the bloodthirsty part.)

So what athletic events can you look forward to besides endless amounts of underage beer pong at Kent State this fall and in the future? Many. But what does Kent State have that other schools don’t?

They have 60-plus years in the MAC, including two of the last three MAC men’s basketball titles. They have been to more Elite 8 games in this milennium than Cincinnati, Akron and Ohio combined (OK, so it’s only one Elite 8 appearance). They have won 20 games for 10 years, and the 2008 MAC player of the year (Al Fisher) is returning.

They had more alumni in the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl than all of the aforementioned schools, plus Ohio State. If you want to see more dominance, read Doug Gulasy’s preview of the women’s golf team. They have more titles and accolades then Roger Clemens has excuses.

The field hockey team has the reigning freshman of the year (Rachel Miller) and coach of the year (Kathleen Schanne). Kent State volleyball should compete for a MAC championship in Kent State coach Glen Conley’s second year with the team and will return a ton of players next year, in his third season.

Softball became the fourth spring team to win a MAC championship. They had the best pitcher in the conference and likely the best in the region (Kylie Reynolds).

Kent State is the home of Jack Lambert. Kent State is the college that National Championship-winning coaches such as Nick Saban and Lou freaking Holtz attended. Heck, you want NASCAR? Kent State alum Michael Keaton played a driver in one of his movies (thank God for Herbie Fully Loaded). Ben Curtis, a British Open champion, is a MAC golf champion from Kent State.

So Kent State hasn’t played in a college football National Championship game the past two years? From what I’ve seen, neither has Ohio State. So Pittsburgh should be ranked in the top five for basketball this season? Its football team is known more for Dave Wannstedt’s mustache than anything else.

Ohio University may be a fun school to visit, but its head men’s basketball coach left for a 2007 D-II school, so the parties couldn’t have been that great. And my hometown university, the Cincinnati Bearcats? Well, they let the college president fire the most popular man in Cincinnati not named Pete Rose (Bob Huggins).

Miami plays basketball in a theater. Toledo went through a gambling scandal last season, and they didn’t fire the coach. Bowling Green may have made a bowl game last season, but it lost by a billion points to Tulsa.

So remember, no matter how bad you think the sports are around here, because a 3-9 football team receives more coverage than the women’s golf team, Kent State sports aren’t as bad as ESPN makes them out to be.

“Anything but Kent” may be the line now, but keep an eye open because these flashy, bloodthirsty eagles may just be the key to a fun experience here in the Northeast end of Ohio, and they may do some winning while they’re at it.

Contact fall sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected].