News of Tressel’s Retirement
Greatly Entirely Exaggerated
By Brandon Castel
NEW ORLEANS, La. — No one was more surprised than Jim Tressel to hear he might be retiring after the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Ohio State’s 10th-year head coach was celebrating the holidays with his family when he got the news last Saturday that his next game might be his last with the Buckeyes.
“My phone started blowing up Christmas night (while) I’m at dinner,” Tressel said Thursday during his press conference in New Orleans.
“Apparently it was somebody on a website abusing their freedom of speech. God bless America, I guess. I don’t know.”
That somebody, known only as “Tab,” caused a stir on Christmas day when he claimed on his blog to have knowledge that Tressel would call it quits after the Sugar Bowl, possibly in relation to the recent NCAA suspensions handed down to six of Tressel’s players.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith and Sports Information Director Shelly Poe did their best to dispel the rumor as “the work of some prankster,” but Tressel finally put them to rest.
“No it’s not true,” the 58-year-old said Thursday as he prepares his Buckeyes to play in their sixth-straight BCS bowl game.
“Was Christmas night a little interesting? Yeah, it was, but that’s part of the deal. It’s better than that day when they say, ‘hey, I heard they fired you last night.’ When that one comes, that will be different.”
Tressel doesn’t have to worry about that for a long time. A winner of four national titles at the I-AA level, he is 105-22 during his decade in Columbus with a 66-14 record in Big Ten play. He has captured seven conference titles in the last nine seasons, including six-straight from 2005-10, and a BCS National Championship.
Despite that success, Tressel somehow has yet to win a Big Ten Coach of the Year award. That’s something that was brought up by the Arkansas media Thursday.
“As far as the coach of the year award, I’ve got many of plaques and trophies in my office so that doesn’t blow my mind,” he said.
What he does have is the thing other people want: rings. Since Tressel took over at Ohio State in 2001, there haven’t been many championships to be had for other coaches. Tressel believes that may have something to do with the rumors of his retirement.
“Oh, what a shock,” Tressel responded when asked whether he felt recruiting might have something to do with the rumors surfacing just over a month away from National Signing Day.
The rumors surfaced during the “dead period” in recruiting, when coaches are only permitted to call recruits once per week, but that didn’t stop them from contacting some of the 19 kids who are already committed to Ohio State for 2011.
“All of a sudden you get recruits calling you and they’re saying ‘well coaches from other schools are calling and saying that this is true,’” Tressel said.
“I always ask them ‘have our coaches ever called and talked to you about anything other than our school?’ because that’s what we do. We don’t talk about what other people are doing or what might be happening at other schools.”
Negative recruiting has never been a tactic for Tressel’s staff. Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said that philosophy comes from the top down, but it doesn’t always make for a level playing field.
"Mr. Tab” said his information came from “two sources that are very close to recruiting at prominent universities,” which makes sense if these universities are attempting to smear Tressel and the Buckeyes in their attempts to land a kid.
“It’s not true at all, but that too is kind of a waste of time,” Tressel said.
“So it’s a waste of time, but this world is ever evolving with wastes of time.”
For Tressel, that includes all the rumor-chasers on the internet who were in a panic when they learned that some blogger in Chicago had sources saying Ohio State would be looking for a new head coach after the bowl game.
“I don’t know when people have time to spend so much time reading all this stuff. They must not work,” Tressel said.
“And if they work, they must not get much rest to get ready for work. It’s amazing how much stuff they get involved with.”
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.