John Cooper can trace his coaching lineage from John Clabo, to Tommy Prothro to Phillip Fulmer.
Cooper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in New York, joining the likes of Robert Neyland, Bear Bryant, Bobby Dodd and the only man who won more games at Ohio State than he did, Woody Hayes.
"You're talking to a very proud and humble football coach," Cooper said from his home in Columbus, Ohio. "Only 187 coaches are a part of that and I'm very proud to be a part of it."
Cooper, who grew up in Powell and played football at Powell High School, said he first got the idea of going into coaching from Clabo, the Panthers coach. After spending a year coaching the freshman team at his alma mater Iowa State, it was Prothro who gave him his first job as a college assistant.
And the connection to Fulmer, who was dismissed by Tennessee last month? After compiling a 111-43-4 record in 13 years at Ohio State - a winning percentage of .715 - Cooper was replaced. His final team went 8-3 and played in a New Years Day bowl.
The only coach to win Rose Bowls with teams from both the Pac-10 and Big-10 said he knows what Fulmer is going through.
"I think now that coaches ought to leave their school every 10 years and go to another college because you become your own worst enemy," Cooper said. "Look at what Phillip did at Tennessee. He raised the bar."
Fulmer was in New York at the National Football Foundation's awards dinner Tuesday but Cooper said he and the ex-Vol coach didn't speak. He said he plans on calling both Fulmer and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and talk to them about the experience of being replaced after years of success.
"They are going to miss (coaching) and they are going to miss it every day," Cooper said. "But you miss a little less every day that you are out.
"It's good to be able to watch a game and when it's over turn the TV off and go to sleep."
In 24 years as a head coach at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State, Cooper's teams were 193-83-6. Besides a legacy of winning, he said he's proudest that his teams were built "the right way."
"The NCAA was never on my campus," Cooper said. "I told my assistants 'If you knowingly violate the rules, you're fired.' I'm proud of that and proud we treated our players right."