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Cousineau, Tom

Tom Cousineau

Induction Year : 2006

Sport: Football

The son of Lakewood High School’s football coach was a good learner. So good that by the time he wound up an awesome career at neighboring St. Edward High in 1974 as an All-Ohio and All-American linebacker he had become one of the nation’s most coveted players. How coveted? On the night before the NCAA’s national letter signing day, three coaches gathered in the Cousineau home to do verbal battle for his signature. It was a gathering of legends: Bo Schembechler of Michigan, Joe Paterno of Penn State and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes. In a red letter day for the Scarlet and Gray, Hayes emerged a winner. Cousineau went on to win All-American honors in 1977 and 1978 (and a quarter-century later to be named the winner of the 2003 Butkus Silver Anniversary Award as the best linebacker in college football from 25 years ago). He would set an OSU season record with 211 tackles in 1978, take part in 29 tackles against Penn State, at the time another Buckeye mark with 16 solo tackles against Southern Methodist. At the end of his senior year he was selected by the Buffalo Bills, with the first pick in the 1979 NFL draft. Unable to reach a contract agreement, he opted to play for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League where he became the Grey Cup MVP in 1979. The Bills traded his rights to the Cleveland Browns in 1983 and in five seasons with the Browns he led the team in tackles three times and was picked to two all-NFL teams. He ended his career with the San Francisco 49ers, retiring in 1987. In 2006, he announced his candidacy for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives, won his primary and is currently Republican candidate for the seat.