Gold Pants History
In what is one of the most unique traditions in college football, every Buckeyes player and coach earns a charm of gold pants following each victory over Michigan. Each pair of pants is inscribed with the person's initials, the score and the date of the game.
To understand how it started, you must realize that Ohio State rarely fared well against the University of Michigan in the early years of the series.
The Wolverines' program was much older, and thus got a head start on the Buckeyes. It was 1919 before OSU beat Michigan, starting in a 0-13-2 hole in the series before that upset win, which accounts for most of UM's 57-42-6 lead following the 2008 game.
By 1934, Ohio State was on a two-game losing streak to Michigan when Francis Schmidt replaced Sam Willaman as the head coach. The 13-0 loss to the Wolverines was the Buckeyes' only loss of 1933.
Nobody or no team intimidated Schmidt. When someone asked him how his team would fare against Michigan, he answered, "They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else".
The gold pants charm originated from that statement.
"I'll tell you how it started," said Charlie Ream, who played for OSU from 1934 to 1937. "People around here were tired of losing to Michigan. Simon Lazarus, the president of the Lazarus store, and Herb Levy, president of the Union Company, were big, big football fans. They put their heads together and came up with the Gold Pants Club. They created this charm made of gold that would be given to every letterman that played on a team that beat Michigan."
Schmidt's first team did just that, walloping the Wolverines 34-0 and thus earning the first set of gold pants.