Ohio State Buckeyes: Former QB who spent time in Dayton area dies at 80

Ohio State football helmets set up at practice
Ohio State football helmets set up at practice

Credit: Contributed

John Mummey, a quarterback for the national champion 1961 Ohio State football team, passed away unexpectedly Monday at his home in northeast Ohio.

He was 80.

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Mummey starred at fullback at Painesville Harvey High School and went on to became part of a three-headed quarterback attack for Woody Hayes’ Buckeyes.

He started two games and was the third-leading rusher for the ‘61 Buckeyes, who featured Troy native Bob Ferguson at fullback, and went 8-0-1.

They won the Big Ten, trounced Michigan 50-20 and were named national champions by the Football Writers Association of America despite being denied a trip to the Rose Bowl when the university faculty council voted to decline an invitation to “the Granddaddy of Them All.”

Mummey shared quarterback duties with Bill Mrukowski and Joe Sparma. Sparma was considered the passing specialist while Mummey was a primarily a runner and Mrukowski a dual-threat who also played defense at times.

Mummey ran for 392 yards on 69 attempts, trailing Ferguson (938 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Paul Warfield (420 yards, five touchdowns) for the team lead.

Mummey completed 6 of 14 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown while Sparma completed 16 of 38 passes for 341 yards and six touchdowns and Mrukowski had 23 completions on 35 attempts for 231 yards and a touchdown.

Mummey had four 100-yard rushing games in his career, including a high of 116 as the Buckeyes beat Oregon 22-12 in ‘61. He had an even 100 yards on the ground a week earlier as the Buckeyes won 16-7 at Indiana.

For his career, Mummey ran 138 times for 775 yards and completed seven of 19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

He was also Ohio State’s leading punter as a senior, averaging 35.3 yards per boot in ‘62.

When he was done playing, Mummey spent eight seasons as a coach at Ohio State (’69-76) then taught in West Carrollton and Kettering.

According to Mummey’s obituary, a funeral service is planned for Saturday in Mentor, Ohio, and he will be laid to rest in Painesville in a private ceremony on a later date.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Trinity Church or the Ohio State Varsity O Program at www.giveto.osu.edu, and online condolences can be left at www.johnsonfuneralservices.net.

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