It’s a saying that has apparently been around the Ohio State program for nearly a decade. Now, it’s a permanent reminder for all Buckeyes when they are inside their locker room: Everybody love everybody.

 

The motto espoused by Will Ferrell’s character in the 2008 movie Semi-Pro to his collection of misfit players is among Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s favorites. So sometime around Christmas, the coach finally had a sign with the slogan painted in scarlet and gray hung in the locker room.

 

It’s not a reflection on this year’s team, Matta said today. Just the realization of a longtime fantasy.

 

“I’ve been wanting that thing up for years and somehow (director of basketball operations) David (Egelhoff) finally, I walked in one day and it was up a month or so ago,” Matta said. “It’s funny because all my former players say, ‘You finally got it up.’

 

“It’s more along the (lines of), it’s February, I needed some humor. I look at it and laugh.”


Coach Matta decided that he wanted to "channel" his inner Jackie Moon and add a sign to the locker room ala the movie Semi-Pro #ELE #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/TlbzZ31nk0


— OSU BASKETBALL (@OhioStateHoops) February 6, 2017

 

Junior center Trevor Thompson said the slogan is always applicable.

 

“It’s a great movie,” he said. “The message is pretty clear: just be happy. Everybody love everybody. We’re all a team. We’re all in this together. The more we embrace that, the better we’ll be.”

 

How well has this team done that?

 

“I think we’ve definitely taken steps,” Thompson said. “I think we’re still learning. There’s still a lot of season left. Still got a lot of room to grow, opportunities to keep getting closer and closer.”

 

For Matta, it’s another example of his love for Ferrell’s comedy. The coach has used Ferrell scenes to keep his players loose before big games and lists a scene from Wedding Crashers as one of his all-time favorites.

 

He also has a tie to Ferrell. As he was filming Semi-Pro, Ferrell’s stunt double was former Ohio State standout Matt Sylvester, who got Matta a memento.

 

“He got me a picture of him, signed.” Matta said. “It’s the greatest signature I’ve ever had on a picture. He’s got an Ohio State jersey on and he wrote: ‘Thad. Happy birthday bitch. Will Ferrell.’ I think about all the things I’ve signed in my life and what I’d really like to write and I can’t write that and he can, so that’s good. It’s up in my office.”

 

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy