In this respect, at least, Taylor and Miller seem to be alike. Sophomore Jim Ellinghausen, Miller's first Ohio State recruit, says, "Miller is an honest man, a common guy. He doesn't tell you all kinds of garbage or dress flashy."
Miller has been smart enough to say only good things about the man who preceded him, while taking special care to give the program his personal stamp. Ohio State players wear new uniforms, and Ohio State boosters are now members of the Center Circle Club instead of the Rebounders Club. The coaching staff will speak to just about any group with a vacant podium. Miller himself has given more than 200 talks since being hired. On each occasion he impresses the audience with his sincerity and determination, but he does not waste much time trying to make anybody laugh. "He's as hard a worker as I've ever seen, short of our football coach," says Weaver, who retired this year. "He's at it night and day. Nothing takes precedence."
If all this effort pays off in the way many Ohioans are already expecting it to, there will be another championship-team picture in the lobby of St. John Arena. Taylor will not be around if it happens. He figures to be somewhere else after Jan. 1, 1979, because by then he will have put in enough time to qualify for the state's retirement program.
Taylor never made more than $28,000 a year or drove a free car or drew a bonus for his appearances in postseason tournaments. He turned down a more lucrative offer from Northwestern in 1973, because he never cared that much for money and always thought he would end his career at Ohio State. But a cubicle in the school's intramural office is certainly not what he had in mind. Now he thinks he might give college coaching another try, probably at an institution where he does not have to fight the athletic director or compromise his ideas about how to run a program.
"I think we are coming back to a time when the degree is important and the game is played for pure enjoyment," he says. "We had championship teams at Ohio State without going beyond certain principles, and I see no reason to change."
One of OSU's former players believes Taylor probably would have tried to recruit Ohio State's current freshmen himself—or at least the five from Ohio, all of whom would have qualified for the school even under Taylor's strict entrance requirements. But no, the ex-Buckeye added, Fred probably could not have gotten any of them to come.