Tressel Still Haunted by ’03 Loss?
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel had unprecedented success against Michigan during his decade in Columbus.
That hasn’t, apparently, stopped him from thinking about the one that got away.
“Of course the wins are important, but I’m still mad about that ’03 Michigan game,” Tressel said with a smile Sunday while he was co-chairing the Cherish the Moment Charity Social in Columbus with his wife Ellen.
Tressel, who resigned as Ohio State’s head football coach last May, was surprised by a number of his former players, who showed up to support their coach, and the charity event to support children with cancer.
“We could win some games if we could put this group together,” Tressel told 10TV’s Dom Tiberi Sunday evening.
“These are some special guys. I don’t know exactly to this moment how all this occurred. I think Ellen had something to do with it.”
A number of former Ohio State stars were on-hand for the event, which took place at Cameron Mitchell's marquee restaurant, M. That group included members of the 2002 BCS National Championship team, like Craig Krenzel, Mike Doss, Chris Gamble, Cie Grant and Ben Hartsock, but also more recent Buckeyes like A.J. Hawk, Santonio Holmes, Malcolm Jenkins, Anthony Gonzalez, Ted Ginn Jr. and Dane Sanzenbacher.
“What really jumps out is when you see kids like this coming back and they’re men,” Tressel said.
“They’re family men and they’re willing to go see the kids in the hospital and trying to make a difference in the world.”
That was always Tressel’s primary focus during his 10-year run at Ohio State, which is why he hasn’t missed coaching as much as people might think—at least not yet.
“I haven’t had a chance to miss that, because the last few months have been a lot like what I would normally be doing,” he told Tiberi.
“I’ve been working with kids, trying to figure out a way to get them ready for life. I’ve been figuring out ways to help the community and recruit, and all the things we always did.”
Now at the University Akron, Tressel serves in an academic role with the Zips, as the vice president of school engagement. The 59-year old Tressel is not permitted to have any direct involvement with the school's athletic department, especially Terry Bowden and the football team, as one of the conditions of the five-year, show-cause he received as a part of the NCAA’s investigation into Ohio State.
While he’s enjoying his new post, that doesn’t mean Tressel won’t be flipping through the channels nervously in the fall.
“I suppose on Saturday afternoon, you get that little twitch,” he said, “but there’s a time for everything.”
Right now is the time for Urban Meyer to lead Ohio State into the future. A two-time BCS national champion, and a former Graduate Assistant under Earle Bruce, Meyer was hired in November to replace Tressel as the full-time head coach in Columbus.
Meyer has continually praised the work Tressel and his staff did at Ohio State, and Tressel is a big supporter of Meyer and his new staff—which includes Luke Fickell, who was a long-time member of Tressel’s staff.
Tressel was then asked what advice he would give Meyer about the position he held from 2001-2011.
“Just to enjoy it and to take care of the kids,” Tressel said.
“He understands that. You can never win enough, but you just have to make sure you have to take care of those kids.”
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