Jim Tressel
Jim Tressel.jpg
Tressel coaching at Ohio State
Youngstown State University
Position: President
Personal information
Date of birth December 5 1952 (1952-12-05) (age 67)
Place of birth Mentor, Ohio
Coaching career
Overall record: 229-7-2
Best record: 14-0 (1994)
4 NCAA Divison I-AA National
6 Big Ten Conference titles
Coaching career 1975-2010
Career information
High school: Berea (Ohio)
College: Baldwin Wallace
Position: Quarterback
Playing career: 1971-1974
Coaching hisory
as coach
as administrator
  • Akron (2012)
    (President of Strategic Engagements)
  • Youngstown (2014-present)
Career highlights and awards
  • 8x National Coach of the Year

James Patrick "Jim" Tressel (born December 5, 1952) is an American former College football head coach who is currently serving as President at Youngstown State University . Tressel formerly coached at both The Ohio State from 2001 to 2011 and at Youngstown State from 1986 to 2000. Tressel is most notable for his time at Ohio State. He was hired by the Buckeyes before the 2001 season to replace John Cooper. During his tenure as Ohio State's 22nd head football coach, Tressel's teams played in three BCS National Championship Games. His 2002 squad won a national title and achieved the first 14–0 season record in major college football since Pennsylvania went 15–0 in 1897.[1] Tressel finished his career at Ohio State with an official overall record of 94–22 (), including six Big Ten Conference championships, a 5-4 bowl record, a 4–3 mark in BCS bowl games, and an 8–1 record against the arch-rival Michigan Wolverines.[2] Tressel's eight wins against Michigan place him second in school history to Woody Hayes, who had 16. He is the only Ohio State head coach to win seven consecutive games against the Wolverines. Tressel resigned as the Ohio State football coach in May 2011 amid an NCAA investigation of rules violations during the 2010 season; which, in turn, led to Ohio State self-vacating their 2010 season. In September 2011, he was hired as a consultant by the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.[3]

Before coming to Ohio State, Tressel was the head football coach at Youngstown State for 15 seasons (1986–2000), where his teams won four NCAA Division I-AA Football Championships.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Jim Tressel was born in 1952 at Mentor, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. His father, Lee Tressel, was the coach at Mentor's high school. After a 34-game winning streak at Mentor, Tressel's father was hired as head football coach for Baldwin–Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Baldwin–Wallace won the 1978 NCAA Division III National Championship under Tressel's father. Tressel attended many of his father's games and practices, and developed a friendship with neighbor (and former Cleveland Browns player) Lou Groza. Tressel's mother Eloise Tressel worked as the athletic historian at Baldwin–Wallace while his father was the head coach.[4]

After graduating from Berea High School in 1971, Tressel played quarterback under his father at Baldwin–Wallace. As quarterback, he earned four varsity letters and won all-conference honors as a senior in 1974. Tressel also joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity while attending Baldwin–Wallace. In 1975, Tressel graduated from Baldwin–Wallace with a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Family[edit | edit source]

Tressel and his wife Ellen, a Youngstown State graduate, are actively involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, the OSU Thompson Libraries and the Ohio State University Medical Center, particularly the James Cancer Center. They have four children: Zak, Carlee, Eric, and Whitney and currently live in Upper Arlington.

Coaching career[edit | edit source]

Early positions[edit | edit source]

After graduating from Baldwin Wallace, Tressel became a graduate assistant at the University of Akron. He coached the quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs, while earning a master's degree in education. In 1978, he left to become quarterbacks and receivers coach at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. By 1981, he had left to become the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse. In 1983, he was hired at Ohio State to be the quarterbacks and receivers coach. That year, OSU had a 9–3 record, including a 28–23 victory over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl; a 39-yard pass from quarterback Mike Tomczak to wide receiver Thad Jemison clinched the win with 39 seconds remaining in the game. In 1984, he was given the added responsibility of coaching the running backs. That year, the team became Big Ten champs, played in the Rose Bowl, and tailback Keith Byars finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. In 1985, OSU defeated BYU in the Citrus Bowl.

Youngstown State University[edit | edit source]

At the end of the 1985 season, Jim Tressel left Ohio State to become head coach at Youngstown State University. In Tressel's first season as coach, Youngstown State finished with a 2–9 record. In his second season, Youngstown State finished the season with an 8–4 record and won the Ohio Valley Conference championship. From 1991–1994, Youngstown State would play in the Division I-AA National Championship game four times. In 1991, Tressel won his first national championship, defeating Marshall; the victory made him and his father the only father-son duo to win national championships in college football.

Youngstown State won two more national championships in the following three years: against Marshall in 1993 (who had defeated them in 1992) and Boise State in 1994. 1997 brought Tressel his fourth national championship with a 10–9 victory against McNeese State. He earned his 100th win against Indiana State. 1999 marked Tressel's ninth visit to the Division I-AA playoffs, but the team lost to a Paul Johnson coached Georgia Southern in the title game. 2000 presented Tressel with more success, leading Youngstown State to a 9–3 season and its 10th playoff appearance. During the 1990s, Youngstown State had a record of 103–27–2, the most wins by any Division I-AA team and fourth most of both Division I-A and I-AA combined. Tressel's overall record at Youngstown was 135–57–2. He was also named Division I-AA Coach of the Year in ’91, ’93, ’94 and ’97.[5] Tressel also held the position of athletic director from 1994 through 2001, making him one of the few coaches since the 1980s to hold both positions of head coach and athletic director.

In 1998, Tressel's reputation was tarnished when it emerged that Ray Isaac, quarterback on his first national champion, admitted to accepting massive benefits from Mickey Monus, the founder of Phar-Mor and former chairman of the Youngstown State board of trustees. The NCAA had been tipped off about the violations in 1994, but dropped its inquiry after a cursory internal investigation by Youngstown State. The nature of the violations only came to light when Isaac admitted to tampering with a juror in Monus' first corporate fraud trial. It later emerged that Tressel had never met with Isaac during the initial 1994 investigation. Monus subsequently testified that when Isaac initially came to Youngstown State in 1988, Tressel called Monus and asked him to work out a job for Isaac. Youngstown State subsequently admitted to a lack of institutional control and docked itself scholarships, but the NCAA cleared Tressel of wrongdoing. Youngstown State was also allowed to keep its 1991 title since the NCAA's statute of limitations had run out.[6]

On July 9, 2007, Jim and Ellen Tressel, along with Frank and Norma Watson, donated $1 million to Youngstown State University for the building of an indoor athletics facility named the Watson and Tressel Training Site. The facility is scheduled to open by the end of the 2010 calendar year. This was the second major donation the Tressels and Watsons made to YSU. In 2003, they donated a combined $250,000 to the campaign for the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which opened in 2005. [7]

Ohio State University[edit | edit source]

File:Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel with his team.jpg

Jim Tressel and team at halftime of the 2006 game at Texas.

John Cooper was fired as Ohio State's head football coach following a loss to unranked South Carolina in the 2001 Outback Bowl, and Tressel was hired to replace Cooper. While addressing the Ohio State community during halftime of a basketball game just after being hired as head coach, Tressel declared, "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."[8]

Tressel coached the Buckeyes to two 19-game winning streaks, one in the 2002–2003 season and the other in 2005–2006. Tressel's winning percentage at Ohio State of 81.0% is tied with John B. Eckstorm for the second best in school history, behind only Carroll Widdoes' 16-2 (88.9%) mark in the 1944–1945 seasons.[9]

As Ohio State's head coach, Tressel is known for a conservative style of play calling (dubbed "Tressel-ball"), winning games with just enough scoring, strong defense, and "playing field position."[10] Tressel often refers to the punt as the most important play in football.[11] In most interviews, he credits the seniors on the team, foregoing praise for his younger players, in an attempt to promote those who have dedicated themselves to the Ohio State football program for a number of years. He is sometimes referred to as "The Senator" (most notably by ESPN's Chris Fowler), because of his composure on the sidelines during play and his diplomatic way of interacting with representatives from the media.[12] He is also referred to as "The Vest" for his penchant for wearing a sweater vest on the sidelines.[13]

Until his recent retirement, Tressel was one of only two active coaches with five or more national championships in any division (only Larry Kehres of Division III Mount Union College has more with 10). His four national championships at Youngstown State gave him the distinction of being a part of the only father–son coaching combination to win a national championship[14] (his father, Lee Tressel, won a Division III title at Baldwin–Wallace College in 1978). He is the third Tressel to reach 100 wins, joining his father (155 wins) and his older brother, Dick (currently OSU running backs coach), who coached at Hamline University (124 wins). As a family, with Jim's 229 wins: Lee, Jim and Dick have won 508 games.[15]

During Tressel's first year, Ohio State had a 7–5 record. Ohio State returned to the Outback Bowl, where the Buckeyes once again fell to South Carolina. Although the Buckeyes lost on a last minute field goal, the team battled back to tie the game at 28-28 after being down 28-0.[16] Despite a second consecutive bowl loss and a 5-loss season, Tressel had coached the Buckeyes to a 26–20 upset victory over Michigan, fulfilling the promise he had made 10 months earlier.

The following year Tressel and the Buckeyes became the first team in college football history to finish 14–0, defeating the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes in double overtime to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and the 2002 National Championship. It was Ohio State's first national championship in 34 years. That success made him the first coach in NCAA history to win the AFCA's Coach of the Year award while at different schools; he is also the first to win the award in two different divisions.[17]

They were able to earn the national championship through close wins on a defensive-minded scheme that relied on field position. With a combination of senior leadership with Michael Doss and freshman Maurice Clarett, Tressel was able to pull out many close games during the season. Seven of their 14 victories were within 7 points including one overtime game against Illinois, and a double overtime game coming in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.[18] His playcalling style of tough defense, conservative ball-control offense, and field position was dubbed "Tresselball" by the media.[19]

Coming off the national title season, the Buckeyes earned an 11–2 record in 2003, but the team lost to Michigan in the 100th meeting between the two teams 35–21. The Buckeyes finished the 2003 season with a 35–28 victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2004. In 2004, the team finished 8–4, closing out the season with a 33–7 victory against Oklahoma State at the Alamo Bowl and upsetting Michigan in the annual rivalry game. Ohio State was unranked and Michigan was ranked 7th and the final score was 37 to 21. During 2005, the Buckeyes had a 10–2 record which featured an early season loss to eventual BCS National Champion Texas and another in Happy Valley versus Penn State, who finished the season ranked third in the BCS. However, the season ended with the Buckeyes defeating Notre Dame 34–20 in the Fiesta Bowl. The 2006 Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated in the regular season—including a 42–39 victory over Michigan which saw the first ever meeting between the two teams ranking numbers 1 and 2, respectively, in the national polls.[20] Ohio State finished second in the final AP and Coaches polls after losing the 2007 BCS National Championship Game to the University of Florida, 41–14. In the 2007 season Jim Tressel led the 11–1 Buckeyes to a third consecutive Big Ten Championship and second consecutive National Championship berth, played January 7, 2008 against the LSU Tigers, in the Superdome. However OSU was beaten 38–24 by LSU, becoming only the second team to lose two consecutive BCS title games (the first being the University of Oklahoma).[21] In 2008 Ohio State won their fourth straight Big Ten title--the longest such run in conference history. The Buckeyes played Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, coming back from an 11 point second half deficit to take the lead with just over 2 minutes to play, only to lose when Texas scored with 16 seconds remaining.

The 2009 team won its fifth straight conference title and earned a berth in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, winning the game 26-17. The 2010 OSU football season finished with the team posting a 12–1 record. However, as a result of NCAA violations from Tressel knowingly using ineligible players, the 2010 season was vacated, leaving the team's official record for the campaign as 0-1.

The Tressel family continued the tradition of supporting the campus where Jim coached. As co-chairs on the contribution campaign, Coach Tressel and wife Ellen made a sizeable donation toward the renovation of Ohio State's $109 million William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. The fourth-floor outdoor Tressel Terrace honors them for their contribution. Tressel also promised continuing donations to the library through royalties from his book, "The Winners Manual."[22] The Tressel family also teamed with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute by establishing, promoting and donating to the Tressel Family Fund for Cancer Prevention Research.[23] Both of Jim Tressel's parents died of cancer.[24] Further, the Tressels donated a monument titled "Traditions," erected in 2011 in a park near OSU's ROTC center. Remembrance park honors more than a thousand Ohio State alumni who, as military personnel, lost their lives in service to the United States.[25]

NCAA violations and resignation[edit | edit source]


On March 8, 2011, Ohio State suspended Tressel for the first two games of the 2011 season and fined him $250,000 for failing to notify the school of NCAA violations involving Ohio State football players and a financial arrangement with Edward Rife, owner of a local tattoo parlor, who was at the time under investigation by the FBI for drug trafficking.[26] The arrangement, which resulted in five Ohio State football players being suspended, involved trading championship rings, jerseys and other football-related awards for tattoos.[27][28] On March 17, 2011, it was announced that Tressel requested Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith that he extend his own suspension to the same number of games as his players. Smith accepted the request, and, as a result, Tressel would have missed the first five games of the 2011 season.[29]

Ohio State President Gordon Gee assured the public that Tressel would not lose his job over the matter. [30] On April 25, 2011, the NCAA accused Tressel of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the field. In a "notice of allegations" sent to Ohio State, the NCAA charged that Tressel's actions were considered "potential major violations" which had "permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible." The report also said he "failed to comport himself ... (with) honesty and integrity" and that he lied when he filled out a compliance form in September stating that he had no knowledge of NCAA violations by any of his players.[31] Tressel later stated that he lied about the violations because he didn't want to jeopardize the FBI's investigation against Rife and also feared for his players' safety.[32] The NCAA's report explicitly refuted the credibility of this excuse.[32]

On May 30, 2011 Tressel resigned as Ohio State's head football coach.[33] Early on the morning of Memorial Day, Gee and Smith called Tressel back from his vacation in Florida and asked for his resignation.[34][35] The Columbus Dispatch reported that Gee had appointed a special committee to examine the scandal's impact on the school. It also reported that Ohio State had been looking to cut ties with Tressel for several weeks.[36] Tressel said in a statement released by the university, "After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach. The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable." Luke Fickell, previously co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, served as interim head coach for the 2011 football season.[37]

Tressel left Ohio State as the third-winningest coach in school history, behind Woody Hayes and John Cooper. On July 8, 2011, the school announced that they were vacating all of their wins from the 2010 season and self-imposing two years of probation.[38]

On December 20, the NCAA placed Ohio State on an additional one year's probation and banned it from postseason play in 2012 for numerous major violations under Tressel's watch. It also imposed a five-year show-cause penalty on Tressel, which means any NCAA member that wants to hire him would have to "show cause" for why it shouldn't be sanctioned for hiring him, and could face severe penalties if he commits any further violations during that time. The order stands until December 19, 2016--effectively blackballing Tressel from the coaching ranks until the 2017 season. If Tressel ever coaches again during this period, he will be suspended for the first five games of the regular season, plus any conference championship game or bowl game. The NCAA came down particularly hard on Tressel because he'd had four chances to tell the truth about what he knew and, instead chose to lie and cover up what he knew. [32]

Current coaching career[edit | edit source]

On September 2, 2011, Tressel was hired by the Indianapolis Colts as a consultant. Tressel was suspended by the Colts until the 7th game of the season due to his involvement in the NCAA violations during his tenure as head coach at Ohio State. He is currently helping The University of Akron to select their new head football coach according to The Akron Beacon Journal.

Head coaching record[edit | edit source]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Youngstown State Penguins (Ohio Valley Conference) (1986–1987)
1986 Youngstown State 2–9 2–5 7th
1987 Youngstown State 8–4 5–1 T–1st L NCAA Division I-AA First Round
Youngstown State Penguins (NCAA Division I-AA Independent) (1988–1996)
1988 Youngstown State 4–7
1989 Youngstown State 9–4 L NCAA Division I-AA Second Round
1990 Youngstown State 11–1 L NCAA Division I-AA First Round
1991 Youngstown State 12–3 W NCAA Division I-AA Championship
1992 Youngstown State 11–3–1 L NCAA Division I-AA Championship
1993 Youngstown State 13–2 W NCAA Division I-AA Championship
1994 Youngstown State 14–0–1 W NCAA Division I-AA Championship
1995 Youngstown State 3–8
1996 Youngstown State 8–3
Youngstown State Penguins (Gateway Football Conference) (1997–2000)
1997 Youngstown State 13–2 4–2 3rd W NCAA Division I-AA Championship
1998 Youngstown State 6–5 3–3 T–3rd
1999 Youngstown State 12–3 5–1 2nd L NCAA Division I-AA Championship
2000 Youngstown State 9–3 4–2 T–2nd L NCAA Division I-AA First Round
Youngstown State: 135–57–2 23–14
Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten Conference) (2001–2010)
2001 Ohio State 7–5 5–3 3rd L Outback
2002 Ohio State 14–0 8–0 T–1st W Fiesta 1 1
2003 Ohio State 11–2 6–2 T–2nd W Fiesta 4 4
2004 Ohio State 8–4 4–4 T–5th W Alamo 19 20
2005 Ohio State 10–2 7–1 T–1st W Fiesta 4 4
2006 Ohio State 12–1 8–0 1st L BCS NCG 2 2
2007 Ohio State 11–2 7–1 1st L BCS NCG 4 5
2008 Ohio State 10–3 7–1 T–1st L Fiesta 11 9
2009 Ohio State 11–2 7–1 1st W Rose 5 5
2010 Ohio State 0–1* [2] 0–1* [2] T–1st* V Sugar* † 5 5
Ohio State: 94–22 59–14
Total: 229–79–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

* Ohio State vacated all 12 wins from 2010, including the Sugar Bowl, due to ineligible players. Sources:[39][40]

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Dienhart, Tom. "Cougars deserve to celebrate - College Football/Insider - Brigham Young University football team", The Sporting News. Retrieved on 2008-04-24. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 On July 9, 2011, Ohio State announced that it had vacated all 12 wins (and its share of the Conference championship) from the 2010 season due to major violations of NCAA rules in which ineligible players were allowed to play.
  3. Marot, Michael. "Indianapolis hires Jim Tressel as consultant", The Associated Press. Retrieved on 2011-09-02. 
  4. Tressel to speak at Statehood Day luncheon. Dispatch.com. Retrieved on 6 September 2011.
  5. Jim Tressel Biography. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  6. Farrey, Tom. Souls of the departed haunt Youngstown. ESPN, 2004-11-12.
  7. Tressels, Watsons donate $1M to YSU campaign. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  8. Tressel eyes finally bucking the Wolverines. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  9. Year-By-Year Coaching Records (page 108). Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  10. Ohio State football: Help make the pick. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  11. Buckeyes buy Tressel's special teams message. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  12. Tressel wows crowd of Ohio lawmakers. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  13. Tressel, Ohio State made for each other. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  14. Longman, Jeré. "The Two Sides of Jim Tressel", The New York Times, 2007-01-03. Retrieved on 2008-04-24. 
  15. Jim Tressel Biography
  16. Game Summary - January 1, 2002. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  17. Carroll's (Mont.) Mike Van Diest Wins 2007 AFCA Coach of the Year. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  18. Football - 2002 Schedule & Results. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  19. Tresselball just keeps winning. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  20. Finally, No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan Is A Reality. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  21. Buckeyes Again Fall Short In Title Game. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  22. Donors vital to OSU library revamp. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  23. The Tressel Family Fund for Cancer Prevention Research. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  24. The Man in the Sweater Vest. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  25. Remembrance Park At OSU Dedicated; Tressels Attend. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
  26. May, Tim (2011-03-10). OSU football: Source of e-mails to Tressel revealed | BuckeyeXtra. Dispatch.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-31.
  27. Staples, Andy. "Tressel gets two-game suspension, $250K fine for rules violation", Sports Illustrated, 2011-03-08. Retrieved on 8 March 2011. 
  28. Ohio State football: Tressel's emails were forwarded.
  29. Thamel, Pete. "Tressel Requests Five-Game Suspension", The New York Times, The New York Times Company, March 17, 2011. Retrieved on 18 March 2011. 
  30. Ohio St suspends Tressel 2 games for violation. e Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved on 8 March 2011.
  31. Miller, Rusty. "NCAA alleges Tressel lied to hide NCAA violations", April 25, 2011. Retrieved on April 26, 2011. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Schlabach, Mark. NCAA sends message to Ohio State. ESPN, 2011-12-20.
  33. Rittenburg, Adam. "Report: Jim Tressel tenders resignation", May 30, 2011. 
  34. George Dohrmann. "SI investigation reveals eight-year pattern of violations under Tressel", Sports Illustrated, May 30, 2011. 
  35. Dohrmann, George, "The Fall of Jim Tressel", Sports Illustrated, 6 June 2011, pp. 40-48.
  36. Mike Wagner. "Sources: Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel was encouraged to resign", The Columbus Dispatch, May 30, 2011. 
  37. Tressel resigns at Ohio State. Fox Sports. Retrieved on 30 May 2011.
  38. "Ohio State vacates 2010 wins, puts self on probation", CNN. Retrieved on 8 July 2011. 
  39. Missouri Valley Football Conference Year-by-Year Standings.
  41. B-W: Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees. Bw.edu. Retrieved on 2011-05-31.
  42. B-W: Tressel Field. Bw.edu (2008-09-20). Retrieved on 2011-05-31.

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