Requiem For a Heavyweight: Jim Tressel Resigns.
Wow, just wow.
After 10 years of being the face of Ohio State football, coach Jim Tressel resigned Monday amidst a mountain of controversy. Co-Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell was named interim head coach for the 2011 season.
I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised. When Coach Tressel chose to cover up the fact that 5 of his players including Terrelle Pryor were exchanging memorabilia for tattoos and pocket money, he all but sealed his fate at Ohio State. It was just a matter of time before he would either be fired or forced to resign. However, knowing what was coming still didn’t soften the blow, nor did it ease the pain.
As Buckeye fans, Tressel spoiled me and my partner, as well as the rest of the rabid, loyal fans in Buckeye Nation. Under Tressel, we came to expect 3 three things. A win over Michigan, A Big Ten title, and a run at the National Championship. For a decade, Coach Tressel would deliver on all three.
Tressel’s cover up is indicative of what’s wrong with college football; it’s about winning and generating revenue. In many aspects, it’s not much different than the NFL. Ohio State is no different than any other major college program; it’s always about winning at all costs. I could easily see any of the other 120 major college coaches doing what Tressel did. I refuse to condemn the man for getting caught.
So where does Ohio State go from here? They are facing probation, as well as the possibility of having to forfeit their 2010 season including the Sugar Bowl, pending the results of the NCAA investigation. They are also facing the possibility of losing QB Terrelle Pryor for the entire season once the NCAA investigation into his activities are concluded. Interim coach Luke Fickell has no small task in front of him; whether or not he is up for the job of salvaging an already tarnished season is up to him. If he is up to the challenge, he can write his own ticket.
Here’s the thing: In Ohio State’s case, the program makes the coach, not the other way around. Tressel was not a household name when he was hired, nor were the names of Cooper,Bruce, or Hayes, the coaches who preceded him. Coach Fickell is a high energy, intelligent coach who steadily worked his way up the OSU rank and file. As a former 4 year starter for the Buckeyes, he gets it. He know what’s expected of him: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, compete for a national title. He will not get a pass for this season, in spite of the external challenges he is facing. Even if the Buckeyes land on probation, Fickell is expected to win if he is to remove the interim tag.
I want to finish with this: Thank you Coach Tressel for all you’ve done for Buckeye Nation. You will always have a place in my heart as the greatest OSU coach ever. You brought a lot of joy into our house, and you will always be remembered fondly. I hope you land another coaching gig soon; they will be lucky to have you.
And to Coach Fickell I offer congratulations and some advice. I can live with a rebuilding year this season considering what you’re facing, but you sure as hell better beat Michigan!
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- Ohio State Football: Terrelle Pryor to Supplemental Draft with Jim Tressel Gone? (bleacherreport.com)
- Jim Tressel has resigned from Ohio State (fanaticsportsandcards.com)
- Jim Tressel Resigns (thebostonsportslist.com)
- Jim Tressel Resigns Amid Multiple Ohio State Football Scandals, Luke Fickell Taking Over (sbnation.com)