I was born and raised in Ohio and have been an Ohio State and Cleveland sports fan my whole life. But, when I chose this field of work, I realized all previous ties must be put aside. As both a fan and a graduate of OSU, this was difficult, but it needed to be done.
But when head coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes take the field in Ohio Stadium this Saturday, I must say it’s going to be pretty damn cool.
I was a Jim Tressel supporter. I will forever appreciate the marvelous National Championship campaign he orchestrated in 2002. And there’s no doubt that without the “TatGate” scandal, Tressel would still be the head coach of The Ohio State University.
But, while Tressel had his coaching style, “Tressel Ball” if you will, the game was changing and passing him by. Other Tressel supporters may not want to hear it, but the Buckeyes would not have won another National Championship with him as head coach. The game is just too different now.
But now, it’s Meyer’s turn to lead the Buckeyes.
And I’m not quite sure Ohio State fans realize what they’ve got just yet. Read More
Occasional contributor Jessi returns to give us her thoughts on the upcoming season under Urban Meyer.September 1st of 2012. To most college football fans, it marks the beginning of a football season for their respective teams. To others, it means “redemption” from the past year – a sort of “resurrection” from the ashes of failure into the fire of champions. For dominance, for recognition, and most importantly for pride. This is what most college football programs will focus on this season.
As for Ohio State? Well, set your expectations into “experimental mode” and get ready for the ride of your life. My opinion comes from years of watching Tressel lead at OSU along with the Urban Meyer era at the University of Florida. As an Alumni of Ohio State during the Tressel era, being a die-hard fan through troubled times, I feel that my experiences will help you understand my thought process which gives me my own personal expectations for the 2012-2013 season of The Ohio State Buckeyes.
November 28th, 2011. The Ohio State Football program got the chance of a lifetime. Urban Meyer was announced as head coach for The Ohio State University. This, after Luke Fickell suddenly became head coach and proudly said: “The 2011 Buckeyes will not be compared or contrasted to previous years. It will be about respect, toughness, and being men of action.”
This quote gives me chills, because it is still incredibly relevant for the upcoming season.
Over the past month or so I have written articles about all three of the legendary former coaches to lead the Scarlet and Gray on the gridiron. I touched on a great many things from Earle Bruce’s rise from high school to college; to coach Cooper finally understanding what it means to be a Buckeye; and about coach Tressel and his wife Ellen’s lifetime of charity.
What I didn’t cover very much of was the perception of their best and worst moments. I have invited some of my good friends to tell their side of the story. I have asked our own Mali, the newly formed Buckeye Empire’s own Chris Holloway and Grant Edgell, as well as the man who let me cut my writing teeth on the Buckeyes in Maurice Womak from Our Buckeye Hub.
I have asked each of them to describe to us what their perception of these moments are and have purposely left out coach Tressel’s worst moment. I didn’t feel like this was something needing covered or rehashed and to my comrads credit? Not a single one pointed out to me that I left it off the round table list. Let’s get started with Mr. Nine and Three.
What is your perception of Earle Bruce’s best moment as a head coach?
Mali- To be honest, Coach Bruce’s continuation of Coach Hayes’ traditions and attitudes have always been what stood out to me about his tenure. There’s a reason he’s invited back yearly during “The Game” week… and in spite of his struggles in the match up, he of all people understands the importance of what it means to represent the state of Ohio.
Chris Holloway – This is easy. Earle knew that this time at Ohio State was over. He had one last chance for glory, and he inspired his team to win. In Ann Arbor no less. When you think about it, and then consider that from that game, until Jim Tressel did it in his first year, the Buckeyes failed to beat the Wolverines in the Big House, that says something.
WVaBuckeye – it’s a long moment in Buckeye lore. I remember him replacing Coach Hayes and the time and energy he put into putting all of the fans and players at ease by reminding them who taught him how to coach. He was, is, and always will be the ultimate Woody disciple. He has carried the torch for Coach Hayes for all this time and it continues to have an effect on current coaches.
His worst moment? Read More
Jim Tressel is a great coach and will have a legacy at Ohio State that may be tough to match. From the relationships he forged with his players to the overall record that dominated the college football scene for ten years. He will be a tough act to follow in Scarlet and Gray even for Urban Meyer. One area in Coach Tressel’s life that will go unmatched by anyone is his involvement in charities. It will be difficult for me to honor all of the charities that Coach Tressel and his wife Ellen have been involved in. That is exactly how he felt when he responded to my e-mail asking him to answer some questions.
“Chris – I would not know where to begin to list all the charities that we have been involved with….I think I’ll opt to go with Paul Brown’s advice on your email template…..so as not to forget someone !! Happy Memorial Weekend !! JT”
What he is referring to is one of my favorite quotes. “When you win say nothing. When you lose, say less.” I am sure that this is a quote he is very familiar with and basically means to let your actions do their speaking for themselves. I had hoped for more out of Coach Tressel but got something that was perfect for what I am writing about. It helped me sit back and reflect on a lot of things that I was considering writing about and all of the charities I was going to try to mention in this article.
I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer McDonald, Senior Director of Development, OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. She has spent a lot of time with the Tressel’s with the Tressel Family Fund there and it is the charity they spent a lot of time being involved in for good reason. Read More
As we reflect on the legacy of Jim Tressel, it’s important to remember that “you win with people” was more than just a motto for his work. He impacted people in significant ways that are long lasting, and not just folks who played for him.
Grant at BHC has done an amazing job at talking with former players regarding the way playing for Coach Tressel changed their lives; we wanted to look just outside of that inner circle a bit. We’re thankful to our friend Billy Brewster, CEO of Time and Change Clothiers for taking some of his valuable time out to answer some of our questions and give us a deeper perspective.
I had the opportunity to work on Coach Tressel’s staff as an intern under Greg Gillum for 3 seasons (2007, 2008, 2009). While working for Coach Gillum, we worked primarily on recruiting associated tasks but would also work on miscellaneous operational projects. During that time, we were able to secure some of the best recruiting classes in the country.
That 3 years working on Tress’ staff was the opportunity of the lifetime. I was fortunate to build relationships with every staff member from Coach Tress to the other interns. The way Coach ran the program was nothing short of first class and it showed through our success.
Are there any things that you’ve taken away from your time at OSU? What “life lessons” or values did your internship there or your experiences with Coach Tressel leave you with? Read More
On this anniversary of James Patrick Tressel’s last day at work, several of the folks from tBBC are joining others in the BBN to talk about the impact that The Vest had on the program.
Coach Jim Tressel’s public persona has taken a beating over the past thirteen months, and understandably so. His transgressions deserved to be punished, and they were.
It’s still my contention that much of the animus and vitriol that’s been aimed at Jim Tressel and the Ohio State program, though, is due not to the magnitude of the infractions, but instead because the “fallen from grace” narrative is one that is attractive. It makes us feel better about ourselves, “Look at that hypocrite… see, I’m not so bad!” and provides an easy way to gain ratings and readers in our 24-7 media frenzy.
No one reads stories about “Guy did what he was supposed to do, and was consistently a good person”. Hard to sell advertising that way.
So, the backlash that Buckeye Nation has felt since December 2010 (not to mention the Tressel family) is, in many ways, magnified by the joy that people have at seeing someone dragged off of their high horse. Particularly when, as may be the case here, that persona was so carefully crafted by the man himself.
He wasn’t called the “Senator” for nothing.
Prior to “The Unfortunate Business”, the national perception of Jim Tressel was similar to the national perception of the “flyover states”- nice people, kind of boring. And some of that was accurate- from his seeming lack of offensive creativity to his efforts on behalf of his faith to the incredibly frustrating (for the media) press conference filibusters, Tress was bland, according to most. Mashed potatoes, Butter optional. Still played smoochie-pants with his wife… just like your mom and dad did, and it made you feel just as awkward.
But the fact of the matter is that, underneath the sweatervest was a man of passion and fire. While it would be hard to tell watching “Dave” crash over and over and over and over into the line, Jim Tressel had a fire that only occasionally would leak out to the public. Luckily for me, though, I was present during two of these incidents. Read More
On this anniversary of James Patrick Tressel’s last day at work, several of the folks from tBBC are joining others in the BBN to talk about the impact that The Vest had in Columbus, both on and off the field.
We were fortunate to be able to talk with former Buckeye Roy Hall about his time at Ohio State and the ways that Coach Tressel shaped his life beyond football. Our conversation was over the phone, and we’re thankful that Roy took time out of his schedule to connect with us.
Can you talk a little bit about your favorite football memory from your time at Ohio State?
Wow- it’s gotta be The Game in 2006, #1 vs #2, Ohio State versus That Team Up North. I was finally healthy after being banged up for a couple of games, and Troy was looking for me early. I made a few key catches, and will never forget being able to score in my final game in The Shoe.
I was a freshman when we won it all in Glendale, so that’s something special as well, but the 2006 game is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life
That was an amazing game, and will go down in the history of OSU, Michigan, and B1G Ten Football! What about your time with Coach Tressel- you were part of one of his first recruiting classes. Can you tell me something that stands out for you about your time under him?
What has always stood out to me is that he was a man of faith, and let it guide him in all that he did. That was incredibly important for him- even when he recruited, he wanted to find young men who had high character; 40 times and bench press amounts were important, but always secondary. He realized that we were only football players for a brief time, and challenged us to find what will sustain us after that was done- how do you make the most of your education and your faith. He always treated us as men first and football players second. Read More
It is hard to believe how small in Jim Tressel is when you meet him face to face. When I meet someone who has a legacy that is larger than life, I always expect that person to be mammoth and tower over me. I always expected to see Coach hulking over me, rather than standing eye to eye with me.
I remember my first encounter with him at my high school. I had applied to be a student manager during my senior year of high school in the fall of 2001, and my high school coach had arranged for me to come down and meet the man who had just been hired to lead the football team I had idolized since I was a young boy. I personally wasn’t all that crazy about Coach Tressel being hired then. (In my immature 18 year old mind, I had wanted either Glenn Mason or Mike Belotti. It is probably a good thing I wasn’t the AD or I didn’t help Andy Geiger make any decisions back then.) He was visiting all of the high school coaches around the state and introducing himself, which shows how business savvy he was right from the start. I think the one thing I will take away from that meeting was how intently he listened to me and made me feel like I was the only reason for his visit. Coach Tress has always had a way of doing that. He makes you feel like you are the only one in the room, and it seems like he genuinely cares about anyone he meets.
I ended up getting a position as a manager, and I quite frankly I was a bit shy my first few years in Columbus. It was the first time I had ever been away from home in my young life, and I was depressed. I didn’t have a lot of free time during the fall, which is when everyone is meeting and making new friends on campus. Plus life as a manager wasn’t exactly the most glamorous position when you first arrive. Like any organization, the student managers are a hierarchy, and the favorite line from my elders was “Sh*t rolls downhill” or quite simply the newbies did most of the work. Throw in a heavy dose of hazing and I was ready to pack it in and go home. My parents made me stick it out though, and it was the best decision that was ever made for me. Obviously, everyone knows what occurred in 2002, and it will go down as one of the greatest seasons in Buckeye history.
The Coach I Knew
Everyone always asks what it was like during the championship season, and I typically lie and say it was great. To be honest, it was one of the toughest years of my entire life. I was still battling a little bit of depression, and then there were troubles that started brewing at home. With my family at home falling apart, often my mind was in Toledo even though I was physically in Columbus. The spring only brought more pain as my family problems worsened, and I couldn’t wait for the end of the school year to come so I could go back to Toledo and help out.
The last hurdle on the student manager calendar is the annual football camps the Buckeyes host each summer. In a matter of two weeks, roughly 8,000-10,000 kids travel from all over the country to come and camp with the scarlet and gray. The managers play a critical role in helping to staff the camp, and it is a long two weeks (those who have seen this know what I am talking about).
We were right smack dab in the middle of another session of kid’s camp, and I was looking for a place to get some peace and quiet inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. I took a short cut to head towards the player’s lounge and which went past the back door to Coach Tressel’s office. I punched in the code to enter the secure locker room door, and as I was heading through, I heard from the open office, “Schmidy, how’s it going?”
“Fine,” I said as I walked through his door.
“Give me one sec, I am just finishing up this letter to a guy who is overseas in Afghanistan,” he said, “ He is from Coshocton and I met his father a few weeks ago, and he had asked if I would write something for him.” I nervously was able to utter something in response, while I anxiously awaited to meet with Ohio State’s version of the “Great and Powerful Oz.” Read More