The Ohio State athletic department announced Tuesday morning that Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel had received a 2-year contract extension to his existing deal. This two year addendum means that Tressel's current contract, which had been slated to expire in 2012, will now be in place through the duration of the 2014 season. While increasing his time as Buckeye's head coach, the university mentioned specifically that the deal fails to include any additional financial escalators, and that the 2 additional seasons will come at his current salary (believed to be in the neighborhood of $3.5 million per season or good for 4th highest nationally). As touched on elsewhere, this is both a product of Tressel's relative lack of additional suitors and the unique vocational alcove The Vest has nestled himself into, where by which the marriage has become such a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship, it's almost transcended typical business arrangements of these sorts. Buckeye Sports Bulletin's Marcus Hartman had these words from A.D. Gene Smith on the issue of the contract's financial terms:
"Jim has indicated to me he is satisfied with his salary. He is aware of the financial situation we all face in athletics..."
Make no mistake about it, should the market dictate otherwise, the university should continue to show the same good will towards Tressel as they have repeatedly in the past and keep his contract on par with fair market value. Keeping up with the joneses aside (and not discounting any and all recent successes), neither party should have any real incentive to look elsewhere at any point during the first half this next decade.
Hartman also went on to beat me to the punch on a sentiment I think many observers of the program feel very strongly, that it shouldn't come as any kind of surprise if 2014 marks the end of the Jim Tressel-era in Columbus. While the conclusion of that season would find Jim Tressel just 62 years young, he's made it abundantly clear in the past that he has no real interest in sticking around past the point of diminishing marginal returns on his worth as Buckeyes head coach, nor does have the desire to represent the university in his present role in the same fashion Joe Pa or Bobby Bowden have and did respectively well into their later stages in life. That being said, it's absurdly premature to mince words over potential hypothetical successors, be it from within the current staff or a potential outside hire. There isn't another coach in the country better suited to be an ambassador for The Ohio State University, and any fan of the school in each of the next 4 season (or beyond) should be feel honored and privileged as such to have him representing them.
UPDATE: In perhaps the strongest indication yet that this next class of freshmen could be the last Jim Tressel oversees graduating, the Dispatch's Ken Gordon revealed this very intriguing new additional contract detail:
If Tressel steps down before deal is done in Jan. 2015, OSU makes him an assoc. athletic director, pays 150k