Welcome Back, Tress

By Jason Priestas on November 24, 2012 at 6:00a

Jim Tressel, the man we fell in love with following this memorable speech in January 2001 (at halftime of a basketball game against Michigan, no less), will join as many as 65 of his former players as they are honored between the first and second quarters of The Game today on the 10-year anniversary of the school's last national championship.

That team set an NCAA record with a 14-0 finish, winning five games by six points or less along the way and snapped Miami's 34-game winning streak in one of the greatest football games ever played.

Cie Grant, Matt Wilhelm and Robert Reynolds at the 2002 reunion dinnerCie Grant, Matt Wilhelm & Robert Reynolds (via)

Much like this current Buckeye team, the 2002 team found ways to win. They may not have been the most talented team to ever suit up in Columbus, but they will be remembered forever because they were coached by a man that knew how to get the best out of them and had them believing in each other.

That team got together for dinner last night and Tressel was back in his element, delivering a speech "that made us all feel like we were playing again."

Jim Tressel didn't leave on his terms or necessarily in a way that will lead some to remember him as he should have been remembered, but there's no question we were lucky to have him for that decade of excellence.

With each subsequent scandal, Tressel's transgressions seem to get lighter and there's no doubt that in 10 or 20 years, when viewed through the lens of history, they will seem quaint or downright silly. I'm confident of this.

I'm also quite certain that we'll get to see Tressel delivering a commencement address and dotting the "i", like Woody Hayes did, before it's all said and done.

Today is the first part of the repatriation process. Welcome back, Coach.

Mike Doss, Dustin Fox and Donnie Nickey at the 2002 reunion dinnerMike Doss, Dustin Fox & Donnie Nickey (via)

Comments Show All Comments

BoFuquel's picture

The best I ever saw,he ain't no Paul Brown,but he's good enough for me.And I still would rather have Tress,than anyone else.But for a short time we have UF Meyer,so we just gotta suck it up, and go on.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

TennesseeJohn's picture

It's already seemed quaint and silly to me for a while now.
Welcome back, Tress. You deserve every ounce of love you get from Buckeye fans.

Abe Froman's picture

Tress was an expert game manager.  In all facets, save having an explosive offense.  But what he was able to do was tailor the game to the abilities of the players.  Welcome back!  
And Mike Doss might be my favorite player ever.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

cplunk's picture

2005/2006 was possibly the most explosive offense in OSU history. Peopke forget because of that damned championship game, but that team could score on a big play at any moment.

D. Anthony's picture

Always liked Tress, but lying/denying directly to the NCAA investigaters is a transgression that has cost every coach caught doing this (at a division 1 school) their job, and as long as the NCAA runs things it likely always will. There's a good chance that no coach will ever dominate Michigan like Tress did, or get us to 3 National Championship games in a 6
year period... but most importantly I hope his record of being the only football coach to be responsible, in part, for tOSU getting a bowl or playoff ban is the record I pray never gets broken. I will stand and cheer for Tress at the game today but at the same time I know I'll be thinking about the dark cloud he helped hang over the current seniors and team. This day and season is about them! Go Bucks!!!

D. Anthony

Frankly Scarlet's picture

Two quick things:
1) JT and Urban are both cold-blooded killers. JT did it like a python, Urban does it like the tasmanian devil.
2) I will always wonder if JT, when signing his name to the NCAA doc that said he had no violations, thought to himself, "Well, I know there was some stuff going on, but since I talked to the involved parties and told them to stop, everything is fine." All of us are susceptible to a lapse in judgement, especially if it means personal gain. It's just hard for me to look at JT's overall body of work and believe that he was a cheater at heart.

"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  

AndyVance's picture

Tressel's indiscretions already seem quaint/downright silly. Damn you NCAA for taking the Vest from us, well before his time.
I'm not going to be at the stadium today, but the first knucklehead who boos when Tress takes the field, somebody punch him square in the mouth.

bukyze's picture

Don't worry, I've been whittling my toothbrush down to a fine looking shank for any boobirds.

Poison nuts's picture

See - that's smart. Tooth brushes are practical, easy to hide, & undetectable by metal scanners. They're strong & make great shanks - as any prisoner will tell you. Strap some rubber bands around the handle & when you here that first boo - stick that boobird in the shoulder fast (no need for serious injuries), drop the shank, walk away calmly. Good luck!!
 BTW - jk...or am I?

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

bukyze's picture

I'm happy to say my shank never had to leave the secret compartment in the bottom of my shoe!

BrewstersMillions's picture

I don't have the slightest idea what is boo worthy. First from a historical standpoint very few people won more than Jim Tressel did in the time frame in which he was winning. Secondly, from a program standpoint when he was 'taken' OSU then went and got one of only 2 or three guys who DID win more than Tressel.
I look at it this way-There is more to Pryor and Tressel's legacies than Tatgate, but the end of that whole saga was Urban Meyer taking the keys to the program. Only at Ohio Damned State does something like that happen.
Go bucks.

gwalther's picture

Awesome article, great comments. Love you Jim Tressel. Thanks for a decade of dominance.
-9 wins over TSUN
-5 BCS Bowl wins. 
-7 Big Ten Championships
-8 BCS Bowl appearances.
-1 National Championship
-1 Heisman Trophy Winner

Class of 2008

b_pbucksfans's picture

Matt Wilhelm looks like he's ready to suit up! Welcome back Tress and 2002 NC team. You will always have a special place in my heart. Its 8:28 AM and scUM still sucks! Go Bucks! 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Still love Tress.  Will always love Tress.  His so called crimes are laughable.  I'm warming to Meyer after the video posted yesterday.  Pretty sure his curb stomping of TSUN today will go a very long way to making me care about him as a coach like I did Tress.  Go Bucks!

nickma71's picture

By-laws are just that. Never, ever, side with the NCAA when the FBI is involved.....

Evansvillebuckeye's picture

Coach Tressel did what he did to protect some of his boys - not to gain an unfair advantage. I would let my son play for him any day. Thank u Coach for a decade of excellence, and God Bless...go bucks!

Brutus's picture

Exactly this.  He wasn't protecting himself or his record.  He was protecting his players because he knew the NCAA would not dole out punishment fairly or equitably.  Exhibit A: Devier Posey. 
I never felt like I had to forgive JT because I never held this against him.  He did a stupid thing for what I think were the right reasons and he got burned.  It happens.

lamplighter's picture

Love the Vest
and *ichigan will always suck

Boom777's picture

God bless Tress!

Wherever you are, there you be!

shade98's picture

Jimmy T changed OSU. My first year of undergrad Cooper and the bucks were bad Bellisari was our quarterback, we got beat by Michigan and then we got smoked in the outback bowl by Ryan Brewer and the Game Cocks. Michigan beat us like a drum year in and year out.The first OSU meat chicken game I saw was in that slut of a town known as Ann Arbor. Cooper was the coach and we got beat but one of the things I will never forget about the game is when they announced  the starters the fans booed every player announced but when they announced Cooper the Big House went crazy they cheered for our coach because we were a joke. Then Tres came in and we beat Michigan's ass year after year we went to national championships and won BCS bowl games and Tres was our guy. I love Jimmy T and I love this game and I cant wait till we kick their ass today. Go Bucks Ann Arbor is still a horror and I am headed to campus O-H.

bucknut3011's picture

Never knew that about announcing the players and Coop... LOL.  I was in school during the early '90s, and I still wake up with night-sweats to this day.  Never quit...  no mercy!

jack's picture

He'll be dotting the i for the 20th anniversary.
Go Sweatervest.
Go Bucks!!!

GoBuckeyes1985's picture

The Buckeye fans here is Tampa Bay will be cheering loud today!!!

Go Bucks! and Go Bucs!

biggy84's picture

Coach Tressel will never be forgotten by me. He is a Buckeye!

Maceyko's picture

Tress broke the rules and paid the price.  Did he cover up for others?  Who knows, but what he did for the kids while he was at OSU was amazing both on and off of the field.  I can't pretend he shouldn't have been punished but I can certainly forgive him because I don't believe his intentions were about winning but rather protecting like many fathers would.  He paid for it and today we welcome him back to the family like we should.  Now let's "Kick the Sh*t Out of Michig*an."

poop's picture

For all the things that pissed me off about Tress, turning the tables on Michigan makes him a legend in my book. This speech will not be topped.

Poison nuts's picture

"Thanks Tress for a decade of excellence". I bought that shirt from the 11W sight because I'm wholeheartedly thankful OSU had that man as a coach & that he time & time again gave us all reasons to celebrate. Today will be a good day.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Bucksfan's picture

Great photos!  Hope we can get a little Carmen Ohio out of Cie Grant today!  GO BUCKEYES, BEAT MICHIGAN!

MediBuck's picture

Coach Tress will go down as one of the greatest Buckeyes in history. So happy to hear about his homecoming, and may his legacy always be one of a great man wronged by a bloodthirsty media and petty NCAA commissioner. 

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

gumtape's picture

I went to Ohio state during the cooper era and we only beat tsun one time during my 3 years. I have a lot of respect for coach tress and I would personally buy him a drink if I ever met him. With that said, my inlaws are big fans too but it seems like the older generation is less willing to forgive. We had a long discussion and I concluded that since they are older there are fewer chances for success before they depart so are therefore more critical.

High and tight boo boo

andretolstoy's picture

If I'm not mistaken, Robert Reynolds is the one we should have a moral problem with. Tressel - well. I may or may not have don the same thing. Especially if there was question that the safety of my boys was involved.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I was at the game today and it was an incredible moment!  There wasn't even a hint of a boo and nothing but thunderous applause!!!  When the team lifted him up on their shoulders - it got even louder!!!  Jimmy T - you will always be loved in Columbus and by the Buckeye Nation!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

nickma71's picture

This is floating on the web. And I absolutely love it.