originally posted on Inside The Shoe
Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel notched his 99th win last Saturday against Illinois. That means that Ohio State's next victory (lookin' at you, Indiana) will make The Senator only the 3rd coach in Buckeye history to reach the 100 win milestone, joining Woody Hayes and John Cooper as the only other members of that club. Tressel has his fans and detractors, but nobody can say he has not been successful during his tenure. Whether you are in love with Tressel-ball (as I am) or you cringe when you see the "Run, Run, Pass" offense that is so often employed by Ohio State, Jim Tressel is approaching legendary status as an Ohio State coach, and I think it is time to take a look back on his career and some of his accomplishments, and to show some appreciation for the man that reminded us what it is like to beat Michigan.
John Cooper was let go after a loss in the Outback Bowl to an unranked South Carolina team following the 2000 season, and the search for the next coach of this storied program began. If memory serves me correctly, there were two names that were being talked about as final candidates; Tressel, and Minnesota Golden Gophers coach Glen Mason (Tressel detractors, look me in the eyes and say you would rather have hired Mason). Mason had some success with the Gophers, but Tressel had been leading an elite 1-AA team, winning 4 National Titles and losing the title game twice in 12 years. People were skeptical about whether he could succeed at the highest level in college sports, at a program that demanded nothing but the best. However, after all butguaranteeing a victory over scUM that year, he instantly won over the hearts of Buckeye fans everywhere.
After losing in an Outback Bowl rematch with the Gamecocks his first year, the epic run that we are currently in the midsts of began. A championship that nobodyexpected his second year left many Ohio State fans with memories of a lifetime. He followed that performance with a Fiesta Bowl win over a very talented Kansas State team led by Bill Schneider. The next season was Tress's only down year with Ohio State, as the team finished tied for 5th in the Big Ten, but still beat Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl, and left fans with hope for the next season, which ended with stomping of Notre Dame and Brady Quinn in the Fiesta Bowl. The 2006 version of Ohio State football was maybe the most talented team ever, but they were run off the field by Florida.
Another championship game failure followed, although I don't blame Tressel, or even any
of the players (except Austin Spitler) for that game. Ohio State was very good that year, but there was some drop off after losing Troy Smith (amongst others) and a loss in the second to last game against Illinois dropped the Buckeyes to 7th in the BCS with only two weeks left in the season, plus conference championship games. Well wouldn't you know it, in the coming weeks Oregon, Oklahoma, Arizona State, LSU, Kansas, West Virginia, and Missouri all lost while ranked ahead of us in the BCS, vaulting the Buckeyes back into first place. Had either Missouri or West Virginia won their last game, I am sure Ohio State would have been victorious in the BCS Title Game. But the way it worked out, a Buckeye team that should have been in the Rose Bowl was placed in the biggest game of them all because of the incompetencies of others (namely Rich Rod's West Virginia team. Yes, my hate for him began all the way back here).
This is when people really started dogging on Ohio State, and especially Tressel. But the team bounced back with a strong next season and a very, very good showing against heavy favorite Texas in the Fiesta Bowl (Tempe loves them some Buckeyes). Last year, the Scarlet and Gray trounced the fastest team ever (if you listen to Mark May) in the Rose Bowl, setting up another run at the Championship, which the team is still in position to play for.
I don't just admire Coach Tressel for his on the field accomplishments, either. As the Wall Street Journal points out, he teaches a class at Ohio State, during football season. The class is aimed at teaching students how to become coaches. It is not just a class for football players to get an easy 'A'. He requires people taking his class to attend high school practices in the area,
preparing scouting reports, and design a work out regimen for a specific position. Tressel is also very active with charities, supporting members of the military, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Ohio, and many others. To learn more about Coach Tressel and his charities, visit his website, www.coachtressel.com.
And, as far as his coaching record is concerned, he currently boasts a 99-21 record at Ohio State, with a 60-13 Big Ten record and 5 wins against 4 losses in bowl games (4-3 in BCS games). Most importantly, he is 8-1 against Michigan, with 6 straight wins. At 57, he has some years left in him, too.
Whether it is his play calling that drives up mad, his refusal to let young, talented players on the field over veterans, or his ability to give half hour press conferences and leave you more confused than you were before they started, James Patrick Tressel is an Ohio boy through and through, whose dream job was the lead this team onto the field. He has done so with more success than other coach in history save one, and for that (no matter if you love him or want him gone) he deserves your gratitude. Thank you, Jim Tressel, for you dedication to the Ohio State football team, to the University, and to the surrounding community. Here's hoping you get that next championship (or two).
|Nobody wants it more than you, Jim.|