Today was supposed to be the day before the storm. The day before the story was unfolded in a Sports Illustrated article about the dubious acts of Ohio State’s head football coach. A full timeline was to be laid out to the nation dating back before Jim Tressel’s time at Ohio State.
Now we jump forward to the reality that is handling the pressure of media, friends and administration of the university.
Jim Tressel has resigned as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Just as quickly and undeniably odd as the downturn for the coach started, this Memorial Day marks the end of a football era.
Tressel, whose resignation letter was accepted by the university today, will go down as one of the most peculiar cases in NCAA history. His winning percentage was better than the legendary Woody Hayes. He brought home a championship, and was runner up in two others. But since December a new light has shined on the man who went 9-1 against Michigan in his tenure. No matter what is painted on the canvas though, Tressel made it clear in his resignation that his love for the fans and his team is the number one reason in stepping back.
“After meeting with University officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” said Tressel. “The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”
Upon receiving the resignation, President Gordon Gee decided after meeting with the board of trustees that this was the best thing for the University.
“In consultation with the senior leadership of the Board of Trustees, I have been actively reviewing matters attendant to our football program, and I have accepted Coach Tressel’s resignation,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “The University’s enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions.”
The tradition and excellence will now be handed down to one Luke Fickell for at least one season. The interim tag will be slapped on and after this upcoming football season, a new head football coaching search will begin.
Athletics Director Gene Smith, who had full confidence in Jim Tressel through this whole stretch, now places that faith in a young and hungry football coach.
“We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best – representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life,” said Smith. “We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program.”
In a whirlwind of transgression, the man we have known as the senator leaves this program with no power or authority, and his tail trapped between his legs.
Jim Tressel will always be remembered for what he brought to Ohio State University’s football program.
Let’s just hope its the championships, winning records and life changing moments that are embraced over time, and not the last six months that have been a heartache for fans, players and Tressel himself.
Today was like an unexpected breakup or divorce. You don’t want it to happen, and things could definitely work out. But because of outside circumstances out of your control, it’s time to move on.