There are two sides to Clay Johnson.
One side is a junior studying accounting and sports management, the other is an Ohio athletics fanatic.
“That’s just a different Clay,” he said.
Whether he has two identities or not, Johnson is unarguably the biggest Bobcat fan at Ohio University.
Columbus-born, both of his parents and many of his family graduated from Ohio. So naturally, he grew up a fan of the Bobcats.
Disliking Ohio State for as long as he can remember, he went to his first Ohio football and basketball games in 2005 or 2006 — he can’t remember which — but became obsessed.
When it came time to apply for college, an application was sent to only one school.
“It was just a perfect fit,” he said.
Johnson has fit in well.
These days, he can be seen in the first rows of both Peden Stadium and The Convo, but he’s not a member of the O-Zone, the university’s official student section. He said he doesn’t want to be held responsible.
Instead, over time he’s developed a fandom of his own. He first met football coach Frank Solich in 2008 at a basketball game and met him again last season at The Convo.
“We aren’t as grateful as we should be with Frank,” he said.
Becoming a fan in Solich’s first season at Ohio, Johnson said he feels appreciative for watching the football program’s resurgence. He joked his parents only saw five wins combined when they were enrolled at Ohio.
Johnson said he shed a tear when Ohio beat Utah State 24-23 in the 2011 Idaho Potato Bowl. It was Ohio’s first-ever bowl win. He also wrote a letter to the NCAA in regard to last year’s Minnesota game, where kicker Josiah Yazdani was controversially given a delay of game penalty in the final seconds. He never sent the letter.
As for the basketball program, he’s watched a revolving door of coaches revamp the program, only to move on to bigger, more recognizable schools.
Johnson loves men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips, too, although he’s a little biased. Johnson said Phillips is his favorite person in the entire world.
Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2014, Johnson was picked as the “sixth man,” a student who sits on the bench for pregame introductions, then gets introduced
Phillips looked down the bench at him and said, “Why the hell are you here?”
It was the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. Johnson was one of the only students there.
He lives with the assistant sports editor of The Post, Andrew Gillis.
Johnson’s game day attire is the same as an Ohio athlete as well. When the athletic department has held previous equipment sales, Johnson has splurged and added Ohio gear to his wardrobe.
At basketball games, he can be seen wearing a No. 5 jersey (for former player D.J. Cooper) or an old Reggie Keely jersey. For football
“It makes me look like a kicker,” Johnson said.
This week is especially important for Ohio’s biggest fan. The women’s basketball team
Johnson, who said he has to study for finals, won’t be able to go.
“I’ll stay in and not be a happy camper,” he said about the game. “I’ll need to be
As for upcoming games and dates, the future is unclear. He does have two certainties, though.
If he does get married eventually, he worries his future wife will be afraid to go to basketball games with him, citing his extreme fandom.
“MAC basketball refs are the worst people in the world,” he said.
The other certainty will occur, but only if he’s financially comfortable.
“The OU Athletic Department is praying I’m making a lot of money,” he claimed. “Because if so, I’ll be donating it right back.”