|CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE|
|Three generations of Buckeyes are represented here: Former OSU player Russell D. Provenza (left), a retired attorney; his son Mark R. Provenza, holds a “lucky buckeye” he pickedÂ in Columbus; and the books belonged to the late Joseph A. Provenza, an OSU graduate.|
His dad, Russell Provenza, was a freshman on the 1954 national championship team and played on the team that reclaimed the title in 1957.
In between those years, in 1955, Mark Provenza was born.
“One of my earliest memories involves my father putting on his uniform and going to practice,” Provenza said. “My mom told me that (famed Ohio State Coach) Woody Hayes held me when I was a baby.”
Provenza`s grandfather – Russell`s father Joseph – also attended Ohio State, and worked as a vendor at Ohio Stadium – “The Horseshoe” – the year it was built in 1922.
The entire Provenza family have been Buckeyes fans ever since and were even lucky enough to be on the field during homecoming festivities for the 50th anniversary of the team`s 1957 national championship a few weeks ago.
“That was an incredible experience,” Provenza said. “It`s one of those things I`ll never forget.”
Russell Provenza recalled the 1955 team that went to Ann Arbor and handed the Wolverines their first home loss since 1937.
He said gearing up for the Michigan game is always a memorable moment.
“Electricity runs through you as you`re getting ready for that game,” he said. “The Michigan week is something you`ve just got to experience. You live through it, and it becomes history.”
The Provenzas will gather around the television at noon today to watch the 104th meeting between the two rivals.