Did Lennay Kekua have a long lost Italian father?
Giovanni Strassini is a North Carolina man who, on his Facebook (which has since been made unavailable) and IMDB pages, claims to have been far more than simply of a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team in the ’70s. Above is a photo of Strassini, with two members of an Ohio State fan club known as the Charlotte Buckeyes.
This picture is from OSU’s 2011 Halloween weekend showdown against Wisconsin, and the caption underneath reads: “Look who showed up! Former Buckeye TE Giovanni Strassini, All American 1976, won the Rose Bowl in 1974 with Archie, Cornelius Green, Pete Johnson and the rest.”
Later, in anticipation of the Buckeyes’ 2012 Final Four game against Kansas, the same fan group announced that Strassini would be attending their viewing party. On it, not only were the All-American and Rose Bowl accolades listed, but Strassini’s membership in the OSU All-Century Team was also included.
But here’s the thing: The school itself has zero records of a man by the name of Giovanni Strassini ever playing football for them — ever.
The initial question regarding the legitimacy of Strassini’s playing career was brought up on BuckeyePlanet. However, Lost Lettermen did some more legwork, calling the Ohio State Sports Information director:
I cannot find any documentation that Giovanni Strassini was ever a member of Ohio State’s football teams. I won’t go so far as to say that he wasn’t part of the team…as a walk-on for a season or two and just didn’t appear on the rosters, but the following resources were used to determine that he wasn’t listed on any Ohio State rosters.
– Rosters from official media guides from 1971-77 do not list him.
– Rose Bowl media guides for 1973 and 1974 do not list him as a member of Ohio State’s roster.
– Ohio State’s 2005-06 edition of the Varsity O – official letterman’s club – director do not list him as a letterwinner.
– We do not list anyone by that name as an All-American in any of our All-American lists.
– The list of letterman in Ohio State media guides does not list him as a letterwinner.
Below is a the Rose Bowl ring Strassini posted to his now-locked Facebook page. On it, it is clear that he wore number 89 for the team. However, a quick search turns up quite a different result. According to FanBase.com, Leonard Willis wore No. 89 during the 1975-76 season and Theodore Powell wore the number during the 1973-74 season.
On his page, he also claims that he “caught an 8 yard touchdown pass in the 1976 Rose Bowl”, and “was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as the 162nd player picked in the 1977 NFL Draft.”
However, a simple Google search reveals that the 162nd player chosen in the 1977 Draft was actually Maryland guard Tom Schick.
As for that eight-yard scoring strike in 1976? Ohio State lost to UCLA that year, 35-10. The only scores were a Tom Klaban field goal and Pete Johnson touchdown run.
The ring does look nice though.