Ex-Buckeye #039;rings#039; up good luck

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Lose a ring in the sink, you just take off the elbow trap and fish it out. Lose a ring in an open courtyard and it's good luck, fella.

Former Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Max Midlam lost his 1977 Orange Bowl ring in a courtyard, so he needed some luck. In fact, he wasn't sure at what particular point in the evening he had lost the ring, so he needed a lot of luck.

Enter a couple of four-leaf clovers named Pat Boggs and Rick McKnight.

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On a visit to "The Laidback" tavern along the river bank of the Ohio River just outside the Ironton city limits, Midlam and his girl friend, Catherine Jeffcoats, were enjoying some Bluegrass music outside on an evening last May.

Midlam got up a few times to throw a log on the fire and deduced the ring flew off on one of his trips to the wood pile.

"I'd lost some weight and it slid off my finger," Midlam said.

Midlam, who lives in the Cincinnati suburb of Milford, went home thinking he had lost his ring forever.

Then sometime around the end of July or first of August, tavern co-owner Boggs was outside when he looked down and saw a ring.

"I was eating and I happened to move a log and I look down and thought, 'There's a ring,'" Boggs said.

Boggs waited for someone to call and claim the ring, but then realized he would have to make the first move. He

approached McKnight a couple of weeks ago.

"I told Rick I wanted to find out who it belonged to," Boggs said.

McKnight was in total agreement and told Boggs, "Let's do it. We'll call everyone in the Columbus phone book if we have to."

Actually, they began to contact some people who might know who owned a 1977 Orange Bowl ring with the initials "MM" and the number "21."

"Max had worn No. 22 at one point in the season and everyone kept telling me it was someone named Johnson, but I knew that wasn't right," McKnight said.

After talking with Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp, former Buckeye All-American Ken Fritz of Ironton, and current OSU assistant coach Mark Snyder, they began to hone in on several strong possibilities. The men were finally directed to Jeff Logan, the 1977 team captain.

"(Midlam) was a hard man to find. Jeff Logan was the one who came up with who it was and how to get hold of him. It still took three days to find (Midlam)," McKnight said.

"We have to thank Steve Snapp, Fritz and Snyder. They were a big help, too."

Finally, the two men contacted Midlam on Feb. 17, but not before having a little fun with the former Buckeye who lettered during the 1974-76 seasons.

"Pat called me and said they were auctioning it off. He said they had it up to $3,600," Midlam said with a laugh.

Midlam put off making the trip to Ironton for his ring until Tuesday when the situation became urgent.

"We're moving to Tucson in two days, so the timing was just great," Midlam said.