How Will Tressel Be Remembered?

An era ended in Columbus over the weekend. It was an era that many felt came to a premature end and up until a few months ago, not many people saw it coming to an abrupt end.

Jim Tressel, the man who helped build the Ohio State Buckeyes into one of the most successful football programs since 2001, turned in his resignation and ended an era many thought was going to last longer then it did.

As the news reports started to feed through the Internet, Twitter and other forms of media, I couldn’t help but ask myself what I will remember from Tressel’s era as head coach of the Buckeyes.

I will remember the hope many Buckeyes fans felt when Tressel was hired in to replace John Copper before the 2001 season. Under Copper, the Buckeyes had done terrible against Michigan, struggled in bowl games and it was apparent a change was needed. Tressel had turned Youngstown State into a powerhouse and many felt that the move to Columbus was going to set good things in motion for the Buckeyes.

I will remember the relief felt when Tressel finally took down Michigan at the end of his first couple of seasons with a young quarterback named Craig Krenzel.

I will remember feeling joy as the Buckeyes clinched a National Championship over the Miami Hurricanes in Tressel’s second season as head coach. Buckeye fans had wanted a National Championship for a long time and with Tressel as head coach, the Buckeyes made that dream a reality in 2002 with the Fiesta Bowl victory.

I will remember feeling the joy of victory when Tressel’s Buckeyes took down the Wolverines again in 2006. The battle between these two teams had been going on for a while but this time, it was the battle between one team ranked number one and the other ranked number two. It was a great football game to watch and every fan was on the edge of the seat as the two teams took battle. Ohio State fans wanted a victory and got one in that game.

In addition to the 2002 appearance in the National Championship game, there were the trips to the National Championship games in 2007 (a loss to Florida) and 2008 (a loss to LSU). The Buckeyes couldn’t repeat as champions like some hoped they would but Tressel was the man who recruited and built the teams that got them there.

A couple seasons later, there was the 2009 Rose Bowl, which saw Ohio State pull out a victory over Oregon. It wasn’t the National Championship but it was still one of the “granddaddy of them all” and the Buckeyes pulled out the victory in Pasadena. It was a great way to start the year but the downfall would come not too long afterwards.

The 2010 season saw the Buckeyes make their way to the Sugar Bowl and a victory over Akransas but it wasn’t too long after that trouble started brewing. Stories of players trading memorbilia, jerseys and other items for tattoos and other gifts started to circulate and got the program in trouble.

As facts were brought to these rumors, another fact was brought to the table; Tressel knew this activity was going on and failed to report it.

Here was Tressel, a man who many respected, a man who was considered to have integrity, a man who was believed to be a good person, never reported his players who were breaking the rules. As the facts started to pile up, more fingers began to get pointed at Tressel and a suspension was put in place. 

Not too long after the suspension came a meeting. It was a meeting with school officials and the man who had brought so much joy to Buckeyes fans since 2001. This man brought joy to Buckeyes fans with various wins and championships during his reign but the meeting ended an era.

When the meeting was over, Tressel was no longer head coach of the Buckeyes. School officials asked for his resignation and Tressel handed in his letter, which ended an era in Buckeye football history.

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~ by jeffrsabo on May 31, 2011.

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