Notre Dame-Ohio State personal for Springfield brothers who starred at each school

SPRINGFIELD -- Dave and Tim Foley have a lot in common.

Aside from being brothers, both played offensive tackle at an All-American level in college.

Both were team captains, and both won a national championship.

Both were NFL draft picks and both played multiple seasons of pro football.

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Now they work together selling insurance and providing retirement plan strategies and investment plans via their business, Foley Benefits Group, on Home Road in Springfield.

They also enjoy talking about their alma maters on Mondays after weekend games, but that should be a short conversation next week.

That’s because college choice is one area the pair from Cincinnati Roger Bacon grads diverged, and those long ago decisions will loom large when Ohio State plays host to Notre Dame on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.

Dave, the older brother, is hopeful he will again have bragging rights. His alma mater, Ohio State, has won the last four meetings between the long-time powerhouses, and the Buckeyes are favored to win by more than two touchdowns Saturday night.

“The last four games have been rather decisive,” said Tim, who has watched his Fighting Irish lose to Ohio State in 1995, ‘96, 2006 and 2016. “Notre Dame took care of business in 1935 and ‘36, so our time is due I think.”

Having the same alma mater might have been nice, but both are happy with their choices many years later.

Dave chose the Buckeyes over Michigan, Illinois and Notre Dame in 1965 because he liked the overall plan laid out by coach Woody Hayes and his staff.

He also had a bad experience on a recruiting trip to Notre Dame, where he recalled the recruits being pitted against the Fighting Irish freshman in a basketball game that became contentious. After that, he was issued a take-it-or-leave-it scholarship offer, and he chose the latter.

“I said, ‘Geez, if it’s so hard of a sale coming in the door. I’m not sure they’re gonna treat me right when I really get here,” he recalled thinking.

The elder Foley ended up landing at Ohio State while Hayes’ program was in a downturn, but the Buckeyes’ fortunes were as good as they had ever been by the time he was done playing.

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After going 4-5 in his sophomore season, the Buckeyes went 6-3 in 1967.

Foley attributed the improvement to the impact of the varsity having to practice against an unusually talented group of freshmen. The members of the incoming class of ‘67 were not eligible to play in the real games at that time, but the group that would go on to become known as the Super Sophs — including future All-Americans Rex Kern, Jack Tatum, Jim Stillwagon, Mike Sensibaugh, Jan White and John Brockington — pushed the older players to be better then elevated the program themselves from 1968-70 when the Buckeyes went 27-2 and won two Big Ten titles.

They secured a consensus national championship in ‘68 and claim part of the ‘70 crown, too.

By the latter year, Foley was two seasons into a nine-year NFL career that included being part of the Buffalo Bills offensive line known as “The Electric Company.”

When he was done playing, Dave Foley settled in Springfield because his wife’s parents lived in the Champion City — and she was worried he would have too much fun in his hometown or his college town.

“When I decided to move back to Ohio, I said, ‘Let’s move to Columbus.’ And my wife said, ‘All you’ll do is hang around with your old fraternity brothers.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s move to Cincinnati,’ and she said, ‘All you’ll do is hang around with your old high school buddies.’

“So I said let’s move to Springfield — I don’t know anybody to hang around with there.’ And she said, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

When it came time for Tim Foley to choose a college in 1976, he said schools across the Midwest were after him.

He considered Ohio State but wanted to forge his own path, and he fell in love with Notre Dame — by then a hotbed for Catholic school kids from Cincinnati — upon visiting South Bend, then coached by Dan Devine.

“I didn’t want to be in his shadow the whole time because I could see Woody calling me Dave for four years,” Tim said.

That turned out to be a fateful decision for him, too. He became a starter as a sophomore in 1977 when the Fighting Irish won the national championship, and he was a captain as a senior when he also earned All-America honors on a team quarterbacked by Joe Montana.

The younger Foley was taken in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, but injuries limited his time in the NFL to three seasons.

He briefly went into coaching but decided that was not the career for him.

“So I joined Dave here in the business, and then my first seven years when I was in town. I did volunteer coach over at Wittenberg,” Tim said. “I still enjoyed coaching, and I’ve coached at other schools here in town, high schools and stuff, but I didn’t necessarily want to do that for a living.”

Though they don’t share an alma mater, the pair agreed they should consider themselves fortunate for their college experiences.

“I think we both are lucky that we were at the right place at the right time because you can be a good player or a great player and never have the opportunity to win a national championship,” said Tim, who is a longtime Springfield Twp. trustee.

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His brother went a step further, suggesting even getting on the field is no guarantee at places with the sustained winning traditions such as Ohio State and Notre Dame.

But it worked out for both of them in the end.

“I’m not sure it could have been a better story,” Dave said. “I ended up being a co-captain. I ended up being an All-American, a first-round draft choice, played nine years in the pros, national champion. Everything about it was a good experience.”

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