Let's Sing Ohio's Praise

By Sarah on November 26, 2012 at 3:00p
U mad, Michigan?

The day before his first Ohio State-Michigan game as head coach, a choked-up Urban Meyer addressed the crowd at Earle Bruce's Beat Michigan pep rally and grabbed headlines by saying, "Let's beat the shit out of Michigan."

Whether it was calculated or not (it probably was), Meyer's words at least seemed impulsive, and the emotion behind them was certainly genuine. Although the game was not a thorough beatdown on the scoreboard, a physical Ohio State team topped their rivals from up north, 26-21.

Meyer was prophetic in the only sense that mattered — the outcome of the game. 

Eleven years prior, first-year head coach Jim Tressel led the Buckeyes into the Big House and upset the Wolverines by a nearly identical score of 26-20. That January, when he was introduced to Ohio State fans at a basketball game, the even-keeled Tressel told the crowd, "I can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in the community and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the football field."

It was a premeditated move, one that worked so well that he only lost to Michigan once in his tenure at Ohio State. While it's too early to tell if Meyer will dominate the rivalry in similar fashion, Saturday could be seen as an auspicious beginning for him.

It wouldn't be all that the two coaches with such contrasting personalities — the equivocal Tressel vs. the heart-on-his-sleeve Meyer — have in common.

For starters, both coaches know how to get the best out of their players, and though their styles differ, the results on the field don't lie. Tressel's winning percentage at Ohio State — .810 or .828, depending on your views about asterisks — mirrors that of Meyer's in his head coaching career, which now stands at .835 after a 12-0 season.

Wins are important at Ohio State, but wins against Michigan are especially important, which is a mindset shared by the current coach and the former one. But it's not solely about beating Michigan; they understand and appreciate Ohio State football and the significance of The Game.

Following Saturday's victory, Meyer attempted to explain what made it so special:

"Obviously, this is the state I grew up in. This is the state I made a comment on last (year), that our objective is to make the great state of Ohio proud."

Even though both Meyer and Tressel were born and raised in Ohio, you don't have to be a native to grasp what it means to be a Buckeye, yet it's a trait practically inherent in the two men who idolized the legendary Woody Hayes and coached under his protégé, Earle Bruce. When hired at Ohio State, each revered and embraced the program's traditions and quickly brought about a renewed sense of pride. 

And the players responded.

The Ohio State head coaching gig certainly pays handsomely, but there's more to the job than that. Meyer and Tressel have often spoken about how they enjoy teaching young men, building teams, and forging relationships with the players and between the players.

Under both coaches, Buckeye teams have had a fighter's mentality and never fail to mention how they're playing for the seniors. Members of this year's team have repeatedly said that they're a tight-knit group. For example, Orhian Johnson revealed:

"Honestly, I can go from the bottom of the list to the top and if I needed to I would take a bullet for these guys. They are like my brothers, for real. I truly love them."

That kind of affection extends to their coach, who was visibly moved more than once this season discussing the senior class and the team's selflessness. The admiration goes both ways, with Zach Boren saying, "Coach Meyer and I have an unbelievable relationship."

Those who played for Tressel have expressed the same sentiment. When the 2002 national championship team was honored on Saturday and Tressel was hoisted in the air, players such as Reid Fragel, Nathan Williams and Jake Stoneburner were touched:

“I kind of teared up a little bit, because (Tressel) is who I came here to play for,” senior receiver Jake Stoneburner said. “He’s a legend and an incredible guy. He still loves me to death and loves my family to death. To see him up there, and the crowd giving him the ovation they did, it was pretty awesome.”

For two men whose fates are as intertwined as Meyer's and Tressel's, it seemed like kismet that Ohio State was commemorating the 2002 Buckeyes on the same day as Meyer's first Michigan game. Of course, the timing made sense with it being the 10-year anniversary of their 14-0 national championship season, and the tribute had been planned long before anyone knew that another undefeated season would be on the line. 

Coaching ages men like the presidency.In the same karass

And another undefeated season would be had, albeit without a trip to the national title game.

Outside of Columbus, many thought the Buckeye faithful were being obtuse for celebrating Tressel. However, it's myopic to blame Tressel alone for the bowl ban1, and even if he had been solely responsible, Ohio State fans do not let a coach's ignoble exit define his legacy when there's so much more to it.

Despite what his detractors and their moral grandstanding might suggest, there are no saints in college football. Tressel proved he was fallible like everyone else, though his misdeeds pale in comparison to countless others in his profession whose own fans would cheer them on in a similar situation.

Then again, it's easy to harshly judge another team's coach — it's not like Urban Meyer was popular among Ohio State fans until he became their head coach2 — particularly one with a large number of victories to his name. Critics of Tressel and of those who gave him a standing ovation were just seeing the worst in him.

But Buckeye fans were recognizing the best in him, as well as the most recent national championship team, who took home the crystal football eight years before Tressel violated NCAA rules and cost himself his job.

Jim Tressel did more good than harm to Ohio State, whether in terms of his contributions to the community, the university, the football program or the players themselves. A coach does not receive such glowing praise and goodwill from his former players for being the human equivalent of the Bubonic plague.

It's true that winning forgives many sins, and Buckeye supporters unquestionably enjoyed the unflagging success in Tressel's decade as head coach, most notably against Michigan. And while that certainly matters a great deal, it's not all that matters.

Ohio State fans want a coach who loves the school and the team as much, if not more, than they do.

They want a coach who cares deeply about his players and inspires them to fight to the end for O-hi-o.

They want a coach who takes immense pride in being a Buckeye and knowing all that it entails.

They want a coach who wants to beat the shit out of Michigan. 

Ohio State had that in Jim Tressel. From everything we've seen in 2012, Ohio State has that in Urban Meyer, too. 

  • 1 Tressel is at fault for the vacated season, but the Bobby DiGeronimo situation was probably what put them over the edge in the NCAA's mind and resulted in a postseason ban. So, blame Tressel, but also blame the failure of compliance and monitoring on the players and the athletic department. 
  • 2 Guilty as charged.

Comments Show All Comments

dharmabuckeye's picture

Sarah, good write-up, per ushe...although i think this is the most 'serious' you've ever been---no pop culture references, no...ummm...no other sarah-isms....just making an observation

LouGroza's picture

People that truly know you will treat you with the respect you truly deserve. People that do not know you, will treat you according to the feelings they have for you within the framework of their own personal lives, however that may be. The caring shown by past players shows the genuine value of Jim Tressel. He mattered in many lives in a positive way. Far more than any citations handed out that may or may not have been due.

BucksfanXC's picture

This is well put. I have been trying to rationalize the celebration in my head. I know Jim Tressel is a good guy, and I also know he broke the rules. I think I know which one I should use more as a reflection of his character. But on the other hand, I know that may be my bias. So I have always thought that time would heal all wounds with that Tatgate sitch, and I guess it just hasn't been quite enough time for some people.
Michigan tries to claim superiority because they haven't had the Fab Five back for any celebrations. Which is fair enough. But I think that if the Fab Five were to come back for a celebration, they would be cheered on just like JT was. I think it's naive to think otherwise. Of course they had a lot more trouble as a program recovering from that than our football team has.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

OSUBias's picture

The superiority over there is ridiculous in every aspect. We didn't have the Tat-5 back and celebrate them. Having this team back to celebrate the championship was no different than us having the '68 team back. The '02 team just happened to have a coach who recently was canned in dramatic, headline inducing fashion. Not like we're celebrating the vacated season of 2010. The season we are celebrating just happened to have some overlap of personnel with the 2010 team.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

osu07asu10's picture

Nice article Sarah. Count me in as one of the 107k in attendance with tears in their eyes when Tress was lifted up. I worked for tOSU for 4 of the Tressel years and know first hand the good, and bad, that came with the Tress Era.
Still, I love Coach Tress and he is a fantastic man, someone who deserved every clap, cheer, and scream that those 90 seconds represented and then some. Seeing his genuine appreciation and emotion for the fans reaction, showed just what that bond is.
"It is a special place, full of special people"
I agree Coach, and I'm so damn proud you're one of them!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Doc's picture

Nice article Sarah.  I too, was clapping and screaming my Tom-fool-head-off Saturday when the team and Tress were introduced.  We are all humans, and we all make mistakes.  My mistakes aren't in front of the entire nation.  Give the man a break.  I'm glad he was there and can't wait to see him again.
Urban gets it.  Plain and simple.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

BED's picture

Tressel is at fault for the vacated season, but the Bobby DiGeronimo situation was probably what put them over the edge in the NCAA's mind and resulted in a postseason ban. So, blame Tressel, but also blame the failure of compliance and monitoring on the players and the athletic department.

Read, blame Gene Smith.  I'm still convinced Tressel fell on the sword.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Jarrett's picture

I wasn't sure about writing this but since you have it posted...I think Smith and Gee should have been fired as well. If they felt the need to fire Tressel, I think those two !@&#*@&! should have gotten the same. Hypocrisy at it's best and as usual when it comes to big money situations. Those with the power/money do everything and anything to keep it.

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


AndyVance's picture

Give Smith his lumps, but the "fire Gee" stuff is nonsense (no offense/bless his heart/etc. etc.).
Gee runs one of the largest academic empires in the world, and what he does there is unassailable. Firing a University President for anything remotely related to athletics (the Penn State debacle notwithstanding) borders on insanity; the man's job is to run the University, and the athletic department, compared to the research, education, etc., is a sideshow, no matter how much we all love it and no matter how much it ultimately connects us to the University at large.
E. Gordon Gee is one of, if not the, finest University President in the game today. Ohio State is better for his leadership, much as Ohio State Football is better for equally flawed leaders like Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel.

BED's picture

So much this.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

AndyVance's picture

This post officially made my morning. Well played.

Poison nuts's picture


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

Jarrett's picture

With all due respect- I can't stand the guy. Consistently increases tuition as much as possible. Recruits out of state kids more and more while making it more expensive and more difficult for Ohio kids to actually go to "their university." He ruined high street, and I can't forget he had something to do with saying a tie w/TSUN was one of our greatest victories in our history....and then having something to do with signing Coop to an extension...

I agree with some of the attributes you list about the man, but I'd rather the man be somewhere else. And I'm sure he has a LOT more to do with one of the universities largest money making machines than most presidents. He's elbow's deep in what goes on with football and there is no way both gee and our AD weren't partly responsible for the cover up . Tress was the fall guy.
That said, TOSU certainly isn't "all about football." When I look at some of the negatives he brought/brings to OSU I think there are other's that could do the same, if not a better job- and not consistently put their foot in their mouths, making themselves a national laughing stock.

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


penult's picture

At the very least, blame Gene Smith for the absence of the post season this year.

Oyster's picture

There is quite a bit of blame to spread around, and we don't need to rehash who gets to share in the blame.  Let's just remember that OSU made a decision based on similar instances and what the penalties were for those infractions.  It's was a gamble and it did not work out as well as everyone hoped.  You cannot change what has happened and it's time to move on and look forward to a great year with the hoops team.  

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

Jarrett's picture

I'm not the biggest fan of our AD- and I'd like to make it nice and easy and blame him for the bowl ban.  However, I think he did what he thought was right and fair- and he based that on what other schools have sacrificed when under the NCAA/College Mafia's thumb. I agree with him when he says there are other schools/coaches that have done far worse things and didn't get banned from a bowl. In this regard, I can't fault him for the decisions he made when considering previous  NCAA/College Mafia sanctions. 

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


German Buckeye's picture

Urban needs to keep the coaching staff together - other schools will be sharks in the water to grab our guys.  Purdue just fired Hope, etc.  Some of the the consistency Tress had was associated with him keeping his staff together for 10 years or so. 
Side note - I really liked the lids we wore on Saturday - loved the larger stripe.  Keep em permanently IMO.   

Oyster's picture

Gonna go out on a limb here, but I can think of one guy that Coach Tressel had that he never had to worry about being offered a job...

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)


Great article! The 2002 team hoisting Tressel in the air certainly made me emotional. Even if somebody were mildly disappointed (I wasn't) from the whole tattoo BS, I still likened seeing him on the field with his players to that of being reunited with a long lost family member. I wanted to hug the guy if I were there.
I refuse to relegate Coach to the scrapheap and I absolutely refuse to vilify him like what ESPIN and the media want us to. The antiquated and idiotic NCAA bylaws (and their hipocritical politics) should never tarnish what he did on the field, for the community and for THE Ohio State University. Having him at Ohio Stadium on Saturday served as both an inspiration and as ONE HUGE MIDDLE FINGER TO THE NCAA. It was a priceless moment.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Jarrett's picture

Amen brother! Amen!

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


OldColumbusTown's picture

I curiously stumbled over to MGoBlog to read a few of their thoughts on the game, and, obviously, all I really saw were a bunch of exposes on morality, character, good vs. evil, and the like.
I realize it is a rival board and everything is inflated there, but to read some of the absolute ignorant comments were laughable.  I've read some of the same from national writers on their perception of Ohio State and its fans, based on the reaction Jim Tressel received on Saturday.
I'll admit I was a bit skeptical at first of the timing of all this - the 2002 reunion celebration, and having Tressel in the stadium with the current sanctions.  It's difficult for some to separate one moment in time with an entire body of work, and I think that is where the infatuation of some outside of OSU comes in bashing Tressel and the fanbase for the way everything went down on Saturday, and also during the end of Tress's tenure.
Tearing a man down for one mistake, though egregious, is a pretty silly thing.  He was caught in a tough situation, and he is a human with human intuition.  He's bound to make some errors in judgement. 
It's just hard for me to see why the venom is being spewed toward Ohio State for celebrating a team and coach who brought many great memories to a university, state, and fanbase.  It wasn't a "Jim Tressel" celebration, but a 2002 National Championship celebration.  He was, obviously, a huge reason why that season was possible.  It's just hard for me to understand what exactly was expected of the fanbase in this situation - not cheer, just because the team has sanctions?  Not include Tressel in the celebration, which would not have felt right considering what he meant to that particular team?  Columnists are acting as if it was planned by the entire crowd to lift Tressel on the team's shoulders...
Anyway, feel like I'm rambling on and on, but just personally can't understand why such indignation has to be written/vocalized on a group of fans who just want to frickin celebrate an awesome group of men who were the best in the country, and represented the institution to the best of their abilities that season...

BED's picture

Great comment.  BTW, sign me up for the Jim Tressel celebration any day of the week.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

brylee's picture

I too have perused the MGOBlog...tough reading really, but to be expected.  Had we lost, I'm guessing we would all be on here second guessing the coaching calls, failed blocks, etc... 
The Buckeyes have owned TTUN under the past regime, and Meyer starting it off scares the crap out of them...thus the venom.  Comments such as the Buckeyes soft schedule, up against their tough schedule (they lost to more top 25 teams), but fail to figure in the loss to us....pretty irrational thinking don't you think?
360 days left until THE GAME (2013 edition), and _ichigan still sucks!  Go Buckeyes!

spqr2008's picture

I realize that not too many people who would criticize the standing ovation of Tressel are on this site, but anyways, my response to them is, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."  The standing ovation was about both celebrating the MNC in 2002, and also about giving a huge middle finger to the NCAA.  If we were seeing actual justice, as opposed to profit based considerations, UNC would have some kind of football sanctions worse than ours, as they covered up academic fraud related to football players (and possibly basketball players, which is where the profit comes in), which is far worse than the actual selling of objects to afford tatoos.  That was the part Tressel was directly involved in, for someone to claim that he was responsible for those guys' summer jobs where most of them never showed up to work (although if you read Posey's lawyer's documentation, it appears he only got paid for one day he called in sick, and if you read the union contract for that job, he was supposed to get sick pay starting almost immediately, and yes, biased source, but still, the NCAA didn't bother to look at his lawyer's evidence at all?).  The problem with the NCAA is that it ajudicates cases without a set standard, and without any real investigative powers.  Which is why Auburn has a MNC in 2010 instead of multiple year bowl bans for paying off Cam Newton.  Southern small towns can just not tell the NCAA anything or lie to "them carpetbaggers" and feel no remorse.

LadyBuck's picture

Great write up Sarah. I agree. The detractors only see the scandal and not what Tressel has done for this university and this community. 
Edit: I almost feel like a State College fan with how they idolize JoePa. Ew.

Poison nuts's picture

I imagine you were joking a bit with your last sentence but having a little loyalty towards JT is nothing at all like PSU fans & please don't feel as though they are even remotely alike...

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

buckeye76BHop's picture

Good read...loved the ending

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

raki's picture

Two things Urban needs to get more ohio Kids and don't let those kids go up north. Tressel closed the Borders but if you look at top ten kids from ohio this year 6 are going to TTUN. This was the main reason he went 9-1.

tennbuckeye19's picture

We've been over this numerous times. Urban's philosophy on recruiting is different than Tressel's. Several of the recruits who committed to UM did not have OSU offers (some were offered late, and some were never going to get OSU offers). I for one want the best players available to come to OSU and I don't care if they are from Ohio or Alaska. 

Jarrett's picture

Right on, but there is our State pride to consider, and it's still some kind of weird recruiting thing when one coach takes another blue chipper from their state- mostly ego I'm thinking. But you're right and I'm with you. At the same time, I DO love it when we can keep kids in state.
That said, I think we'd be ok NEVER recruiting a kid from ichigan. I'd be fine with that!!!!

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


tennbuckeye19's picture

I'm certainly not discounting the importance of getting Ohio kids. And Urban will certainly go after the best in-state talent every year. But I do think in the past we have taken some kids just because they were from Ohio that maybe weren't OSU caliber talent. And even Tressel missed on some Ohio guys who went elsewhere. Let's face it though, UM wouldn't be able to field a team if they didn't get Ohio guys to play there. 

buckeyenut10's picture

Say goodbye to our run defense this year. Big Hank (if I'm not mistaken) was from Michigan.
If he chooses to come to Ohio State that's fine by me. We're taking one of their few diamonds in a very deep rough. You can't blame someone from coming out of a [insert crazy religion/cult] family, but you can blame them for going into one.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

Hankins is from Michigan, I personally have always wondered why we don't recruit more up there.  Krenzel and Hankins are just two off the top of my head, I would say it's the best area for high school football players in the midwest outside of penn. and Ohio.

Sarah's picture

From personal experience, I can tell you that someone can be from Michigan and still be a Buckeye. 

CowCat's picture

Lol.   Are you suggesting that Craig Krenzel might also be a Buckeye?   ;)
Well-written article.  Thanks!

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

osubuckeye4life's picture

Though remember Circle K aka Craig Krenzel was from TTUN. That made him beating TTUN in 2001 at the sh!thouse so satisfying. 
Vernon Gholston 
I'm sure there are other guys. 
The staff can pull guys from anywhere as long as they are best players they can get. 
However, getting the absolute top Ohio guys that fit the system is paramount. 

Jarrett's picture

(reply to RAKI)
I am with you but it is kind of the old school way of looking at recruiting. It seems like a lot of ego goes into a coach taking a blue chip recruit from another coaches state. But, as stated below, there are other factors - did OSU even want these players and are we going after better players in other states? Meyer will not hesitate to go after the best players, no matter where they are. Unfortunately, maybe not all those are from our great state of Ohio...it pains me to see it, to see our kids go to TTUN but hey- I have to trust Meyer with his plan...and I think if this year is any indication of what he can do with talent, we're in for some fantastic years ahead, no matter where our next Buckeye's come from! (When ichigan does have or did have a good team, they always seemed to have a lot of guys from Ohio. But now? I don't think that will matter. Meyer and his crew will beat any team, no matter where their kids are from).

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


raki's picture

"Jarret abd tennbuckeye19" 
The biggest concern is cooper era, he had the best recuits and best players from around the county and we all know what the results are I came to US in 2000 so don't know much about all the seasons, An ohio KID just knows what "the game" is against that TTUN. I know urban meyer gets it and he cannot even be compared with coop.
My Another concern is the you want to have a very good relation with the Ohio high school coaches you don't want to screw that up. If you ignore too many ohio kids that relation might be in Jeopardy and when some really elite recuit comes up then the coach might push him to play for that TTUM.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I cheered as loud as I possibly could for Tressel. Some people just like to sit up on their high horse lobbing false outrage at others. The 2002 National Championship team had nothing to do with Tressel (and many others) making a poor decision in 2010. I could have drop kicked Dan Wetzel for his article on the topic, but there are few who sit higher on their high horse than he. As for Tressel's misdeeds, I believe in forgiveness and redemption. Nothing Tressel did was so terrible that he isn't deserving of some forgiveness, and I believe the same it true for coaches and players of other schools who make mistakes. Sadly some people can't help themselves. They must tear down others to elevate themselves. I, for one, cheered with all my might to send a message to anyone viewing the game from afar that we love our flawed hero and we welcome him home!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Jarrett's picture

Excellent article Sarah, thank you. I've thought about and wondered how the seniors could handle all the changes they've gone through with coaches since they've been at OSU. And I thought about the differences in style between Tressel and Meyer, how could I not? So I really liked the article. And I'd like to believe after Coach Fickell took the bullet for the team and university he will always receive a huge THANK YOU. I don't think any of us can understand the pressure he was under last year and even though his results were not fantastic, I think he is a fantastic example of putting your team first and doing ones  best under stressful times.
So, we have three coaches here that I think Buckeye Nation really likes and shows appreciation for. But this brings up my curiosity about John Cooper. I was living in CA when he took over and it was a bit more difficult to keep track of things at OSU. But what I knew was 1. He though The Game was "just another game." 2. He didn't seem to honor our traditions, or at least I don't remember him making a point to. 3. He blew every big game except, perhaps, the 1996 Rose Bowl come back game- I do hope I'm getting this right. But he won that AFTER losing to that team up north. When he said "we'll take anyone else on next week. Bring em on..." or something to that effect, all I thought was, "as long as it isn't freaking michigan..." argh. 4. His record against that team up north- that says it all.
So,  I feel bad for the many great buckeye teams and players that played here during the Cooper Era. I don't think there will be any special appreciation thrown Coopers way, that's for sure, because he just blew goats when it came to big games, and especially The Game. We did beat Notre Lame twice, but come now, that was when they really sucked and we should have beaten them. (Go Eddie, go!).
We remember the coaches that win, and win The Game (as stated). I feel bad for the Cooper Era players, since I think, they will be known as great players but not players that were on great teams...and maybe we had some great teams but again- most lost to michigan. So, they don't count? Hmmm, I'm wondering what people think about Cooper ( and his teams- man, he had some teams with a lot of talent).

Every time I see Kirk Herbstreit on espn College Game Day I can't help but think, at least once (no wins against michigan- no wins). *And I don't think a tie, especially against ichigan counts as a win, that's for sure.
So what do you fellow Buckeye's think of Cooper?

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


tennbuckeye19's picture

My OSU fandom began at the end of the Earle era with the first game I remember watching intently and actually caring about was Earle's last game; the now famous victory over UM with the team wearing "EARLE" handbands in his honor. And then came John Cooper.
The Cooper era is so tough for me because his tenure took me from 3rd grade into college. I was so connected with those teams. Those were the players I pretended to be in the backyard. Those were the teams I went to see play in the Shoe.
Cooper had good qualities. I mean he could certainly recruit. He had so much talent on his teams and his overall record of 111-43-4 means he won like 72% of his games. The guy won 3 Big Ten titles (all shared). BUT, the thing he will ALWAYS be remembered for is that he was 3-8 in bowls and 2-10-1 against UM. I've heard the stories about how he didn't get the rivalry and tradition of OSU, which is probably pretty accurate. I mean the guy was from Tennessee and had coached @ Tulsa and Arizona State before coming to OSU. He was an outsider. However, I have also heard him described as a "prince of a man" who people say is a great guy and seldom does anyone say anything bad about him (aside from the football stuff). The guy has even kept his residence in the Columbus area since his dismissal. 
Cooper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame recently, so he was recognized for his contributions to the sport. OSU fans though will remember 'what could have been' with Cooper. I know I do.

Jarrett's picture

Nice insight TENNBUCKEYE19, cool memories to share. I was lucky to actually be at Earls first michigan game- he is a good egg. I suppose we all grow up liking/supporting our teams and coaches are secondary as a kid. But that's what being a fan is about, gotta stick with them through thick and thin. You're a good fan! 
Yeah, ya start looking at "what could have been" and man, SO many opportunities blown. I always thought that if you're lucky enough to be the HC at TOSU, you would naturally be excited about the traditions and embrace them. I don't see how you couldn't or why you wouldn't. I don't know how much is true but the first negative thing I heard was that he and his family took every opportunity to pitch almost every product they could, which supposedly turned a bunch of people off. Then I heard he alienated a bunch of the Ohio high school coaches for some reason- so they weren't supporting OSU when it came to recruiting...I know we did lose some good players to TTUN during his tenure. He sure could spot talent though. 
Being a good person should be the top priority no matter what your job is  and making (his) mistakes doesn't make you a bad person, just a normal person. I try to learn from mine, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't -but he never seemed to get it, even after making the same mistakes over and over. I guess it does come down to having the ability to get the most out of your players for EVERY game, which is something Tress and Meyer could do and something Coop (and Earl) struggled with. Too bad- there were a lot of hearts broken during his tenure, but that's the way it goes in the big's- win the games that count or you're either forgotten or remembered as a choker. 
Have a good week- 
Damn, that's a scary picture of Bernie on that t-shirt, and it's hilarious. I saw him interviewed a couple years back for some NFL films show. WOW. NOT GOOD. Guess he has fallen on hard times, which is too bad. Now, talk about breaking hearts- the Browns take that to a whole other level! 

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Groucho Marx 


osubuckeye4life's picture

I think Coops problem was he just had a great eye for talent. However, he didn't always know how best to motivate said talent. 
Many times his teams it seemed got by on talent alone. They won a bunch of games but in  many of the most meaningful games came up short too many times.
It's  interesting about the parallels between Urban and Tress. Being assistants on the same staff with Coach Bruce. Both being coaches with amazing records.
I don't know about all of you but when Urbz beat tOSU like drum in 2007 I never could imagine him coaching our team five years later.
Absolutely surreal.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

I personally still think that Tressel was between a rock and a hard place when he heard about the cash-for-tattoos.  He knew a criminal investigation was going on and, not knowing whether or not his players were involved, acted with the safety of his players in mind.  
Should he have come out with it when questioned later?  Absolutely.  Hindsight is 20/20 on this one.  But he made a mistake and has suffered far more than he deserved to as a result.  
I think Buckeye Nation understands this, and they understand that there is so much more good that Jim Tressel was responsible for while he was here.
Urban Meyer goes 12-0 because he has a group of seniors that don't quit.  And he has a tradition of loyalty to those seniors that result in a team that doesn't quit.  Jim Tressel instilled these values in his team and 2 years departed, the team remains in this mindset.  Not to take anything away from Urban Meyer and what he did this season, but I feel that it wouldn't have been possible without the values Tressel instilled.

Ohio1St81's picture

I love the Vonnegut reference, Sarah! Urban's wampeter is the Coaches' Trophy. 

11W User Map: https://goo.gl/mxUeyX


southbymidwest's picture

You nailed it Sarah. Thank you. 

KE's picture

I have a different perspective on this. Coach Tressel's actions took what would have been a middling scandal and turned it into a major embarrassment. When he was alerted to the conduct of a few players, there were several things he could have done to both protect the players and the program. Instead, he chose to cover it up. It's iimportant to remember how the scandal unfolded. At the end of the 2010 regular season and before the bowl game, the story broke about players trading and sellling their own trinkets in 2008. The University assured the world that they didn't know anything about it, and as a result the affected players were allowed to play in the bowl game. Coach Tressel repeatedly said he was not aware. Once the whole story dribbled out, it was clear he had known for a long time, a fact he had repeatedly denied. As the story unfolded, I was dumbfounded at the inartful way he covered things up, while leaving a trail that was guaranteed to be discovered.
That said, he was and I am sure remains a wonderful person, which is what makes these events so confounding. The way he handled Maurice Clarett is a textbook example of how coaches should handle players, both during and after their playing time. There are hundreds of similar examples.Tatgate itself was minor - it was the coverup that did in Tressel and the University. We cannot forget that.

nickma71's picture

When he was alerted to the conduct of a few players, there were several things he could have done to both protect the players and the program. Instead, he chose to cover it up.

And what were those serveral things? Since he was not permitted to discuss it. Ask that lawyer now. He was recently resuspended, or so I read. He is lucky to not have criminal charges against him. Or maybe he doesn't and I don't know it.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

Let other's hate if they want to. Never apologize for doing what feels right. Giving Tressel and the 2002 championship team that standing ovation felt right. No defense necessary as far as I am concerned.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Brutus's picture

I linked to this article from the Buckshots article about Spencer Hall's visit to The Game (great article by the way).  Sums up my feelings about JT and the ovation he received quite nicely:

pjtobin's picture

Wow so many great comments. I would have upvoted more, but fat fingers cause accidental down votes. Thank you all for your touching stories. I would like to see tress getting lifted up. He deserved to be hoisted up high. To be let known those kids, now men,care for him deeply. I almost cried when I heard the news tress was fired.  My neighbor called me. My stomache was upset. And I was pissed. I loved tress. My dad loved tress. It hurt. So I am so proud loyal fans gave a standing ovation to his coaching skills and the greatest team i remember. Thank you fans. One another note, the same neighbor told me during the same phone call that UFM was our new coach. He has a brother on the inside. And swore up and down that was the truth. Then it came true. Did it leak first? Did 11 warriors know? I didn't know about 11 warriors then. So I'm just curious. I will always love tress. And will show him respect. I think I'm falling for UFM. Tress made it hard at times. Like a kid you want to beat. But you just put them in the corner. Urban is making it easy. Though xbrax keep might be our new Dave. I am thankful for all your stories. And thankful others share my crazy nut thoughts!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Poison nuts's picture

Sarah - well said & beautifully written. As for the press & their opinions - I couldn't now & never will give a shit about how they think people should act. Count me as one of the idiots that cheered & teared up a bit when I saw that evil, evil man hoisted up on those players shoulders. 
Also, thanks for pointing out the similarities between the prior coach & the present. Enough has already been written of the differences.

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

nickma71's picture

I like the fact that the haters are disappointed in Tressel's official send off. They wanted disgrace and booing, and they got the largest and loudest ovation since the moon landing. And he was carried off into the sunset by his players. I am going to have the picture enlarged and framed. It will go on the wall next to my Spielman Brown's jersey. Yeah, I found one and snatched it up.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

After the announcement was made that Jim Tressel had been hired, my buddy and I both had the same reaction - Who the F@#$ is Jim Tressel.  Well, we found out quickly and I have been a big fan ever since.  Yes, there were times when Tressel-ball drove me insane and probably took 10 years off of my life (2002 season responsible for the majority). 
I will NEVER understand why he did what he did, but it happened and he was viciously punished for his decision, and rightfully so, IMHO.  It was an awesome thing to experience at the Shoe Saturday watching the 2002 team hoist The Vest on their shoulders as they, and he received a well deserved and incredible standing ovation! 
As for the smelly rodents up north - of course they're going to be butt hurt, angry, and bitter.  Tressel kicked their asses 9 times out of 10 chances and Urban is now 1 - 0 with the threat to be even more dominant (if that is possible).  I was sitting in a bar at the Toronto airport waiting for my wife to arrive when this AACC jackass sitting next to me immediately started in on how we won by cheating under Tressel the last decade!  I looked at him, suppressed the urge to shut both of his eyes with a left / right combo and calmly responded - Whatever - if that is what it takes for you to fall asleep on your tear stained michigan helmet pillow, then by all means, keep telling yourself that!  And, by the way, Urban is going to continue that dominance so you might want to start working on your excuses now!  He pretty much STFU after that...

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

d.bradfordii's picture

Two sensational coaches, and a great story - awesome article Sarah!