It’s a question I’ve had for years…. Why does ESPN analyst Merril Hoge — an Idaho native who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers — live in Fort Thomas?
A former football player, Hoge likely could live wherever he wanted. A residence in suburban Cincinnati is curious. When I taught college-level geography, I would ask my students to explain his locational choice given what they know about migration. I wouldn't have guessed the answer at that time. After blogging about domestic diasporas, I had good idea as to why Hoge chose Cincinnati:
So why does he live here? (ESPN’s Tom Jackson also lives here too.) This is what Hoge (pronounced “Hodge”) says: “My ex-wife (Toni) used to live here. She didn’t want to live in Pittsburgh, so we went where she’s happiest. I’d never pick here, but I’m happy here,” he says. The people have been very welcoming here. He’s also friends with Marvin Lewis, who was on the coaching staff at Idaho State and the Steelers when Hoge played, and goes hunting deer with Eric Ball, Bengals player relations director. “The community is great. The people are great. I don’t feel like a Steeler all the time,” he says.
The Merril Hoge migration is why regions should export educated women. Not only are these talented outmigrants more likely to return, they will bring a trailing spouse along for the ride. Of course, that's little comfort to Idaho.