Jim Tressel is a man who did everything he could for The Ohio State University; during his years as head coach he embodied what it meant to be a Buckeye and was someone Buckeye Nation was proud to have on the sidelines. With him as head coach, the football team won the Nation Championship and six conference titles while he took the team to the post season each and every year. When the tattoo scandal reached national news in 2011, he was forced to make a decision that was better for the University, and resigned as head coach.
The 2011 season for the Buckeyes was set to be incredibly successful; Terrelle Pryor was finally getting into a grove that was unstoppable and with forces like Daniel “Boom” Herron on the ground and DeVier Posey down the field, the offense was going to be a force. But all hopes for a dream season went up in smoke with news of the NCAA sanctions and shortly there after, Terrelle Pryor made his decision to leave Ohio State and try his hand in the NFL.
With some of the best players suspended, no quarterback or head coach, Ohio State fans were left with so many questions. Luke Fickell stepped up into a spot that no one wanted to try to fill - head coach for the 2011 season.
Fickell was a great “this will do for now” head coach; he played for the Buckeyes and coached under Tressel for 8 years. Unfortunately for Fickell, he had a lot of rookies on and off the field, himself included, and while able to keep the football program afloat, he had many wondering ‘what could have been’ with Tressel as head coach.
There was something special about Jim Tressel wearing his vest on game days with nothing but focus in his eyes. All of a sudden, the coach wasn’t wearing a vest, but tons of the fans still were. The students stood by Tressel during the whole situation, and still honored him on Saturdays; he was still someone people talked about when chatting about the football team.
Coming off a losing 2011 season, especially for a fan base that is used to success, the heavens opened and angels sang when Urban Meyer was named the 24th head coach for The Ohio State University. The excitement in Buckeye country is palpable; you can feel the energy around the upcoming first game. It’s different from last season, its one of confidence in the months ahead.
With the new Urban Meyer era upon us, I wonder how many times we’ll think about Tress? Comparing Fickell to Tressel was easy; but Tressel got results because he had the experience and preparation to do so.
With Meyer’s record, he’s going to have a different game than Tress, but still a successful one. After a few seasons, Meyer’s style of coaching will be the new norm, and people won’t consider what The Senator would have done quite as much.
While Jim Tressel will go down in the record books as one of the most successful and loved coaches in Ohio State football history, his era of coaching is officially over. He will always be a favorite amongst this generation of Buckeye fans, but the future generations won’t quite talk about his successes with as much excitement.
Urban Meyer is the future of Ohio State football and I know he will bring a new sense of pride to Buckeye Nation. I just hope we all try to remember the man who gave us a decade of incredible football and nine beatings of the team up north. Jim Tressel was the face of The Ohio State University and should be someone we always mention when talking about Buckeye football.
It’s that time again, Buckeye Nation. Just two more days.