229 career wins; nine national title game appearances; six Big Ten titles; nine bowl appearances; and national championships in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2002. Or 24 first team All-Americans at Ohio State; Heisman, Lombardi, Thorpe, Lott, O'Brien, Butkus, Nagurski, Groza, Rimington, Walter Camp, Ray Guy, Wuerffel, Lowe's and Draddy award winners; 49 first team all-Big Ten selections. Add nearly an .820 winning percentage with the Buckeyes; 133 players earning Ohio State degrees during his tenure; and the most academic all-Big Ten selections in the conference each of his years as coach.
Pretty simple to see why Ohio State football has been successful with Jim Tressel at the helm.
Simple, too, to unravel the man in the sweater vest, who likes hot coffee, mowing the lawn and a good cheeseburger (no onions). While fans fantasize that pomp and circumstance surround one of the most accomplished figures in college football, Tressel is much more "what you see is what you get."
Tressel at Ohio State
He likes his music a little bit country, he enjoys working with the people around him, and he wants more than anything to help his players become the sort of people others will enjoy being around. He knows there are powerful forces influencing a young man as he sets out on his life's course. Tressel believes one of the best influences is football.
He reminds his players daily that representing Ohio State is a privilege, an advantage that allows them to enhance the futures of themselves, their families and communities through education and enlightened concern. Meticulous in his habits but magnanimous in his generosity, Tressel emphasizes organization, planning and accountability as not just important in football, but as skills for life.
Using a game he loves as the means to grow people toward their potential, Tressel is a big-picture thinker, but is most comfortable with people one-on-one. Nobody signs more autographs or sends more notes of encouragement, one at a time for people who prize them, and no one is more genuinely puzzled at what the fuss is all about.
But Jim Tressel's works have brought great results to Ohio State football.
Now beginning his 10th season since taking the reins at OSU in 2001, Tressel has guided the Buckeyes to an overall record of 94-21, nine bowl appearances (including seven BCS games), seven 10-win seasons, six Big Ten titles and a national championship.
Tressel, who owns an overall record of 229-78-2 after 24 years as a head coach, was named as the Buckeyes' 22nd head coach Jan. 18, 2001. His original five-year contract was extended through 2008 following the 2002 season; his current contract runs through 2015.
Tressel's first Ohio State squad earned a 7-5 record with a dramatic road win over Michigan in the regular-season finale; he is 6-1 thus far against the Wolverines. In 2002, Ohio State came from out of nowhere to capture the Big Ten's first consensus national title since 1968, posting a 13-0 regular-season record and then upsetting top-ranked Miami in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in a 31-24 double-overtime thriller, becoming the first Division I-A school to record a 14-0 campaign.
During 2003, Tressel led the Buckeyes to an 11-2 record and their second consecutive BCS bowl appearance, where OSU defeated Kansas State in a return visit to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Despite the loss of 28 seniors and an NFL-record 14 players to the draft, the 2004 Buckeyes attained an 8-4 record that included wins over Michigan in the regular-season finale and Oklahoma State in the MasterCard Alamo Bowl. In 2005, the 10-2 Buckeyes tied for the Big Ten title (7-1) and closed the season with back-to-back wins over Michigan and Notre Dame.
In 2006, Ohio State opened the season at No. 1 in the polls and held that ranking throughout the course of the regular season, the first team to go wire-to-wire at the top spot. Posting a 12-0 record during the regular season, Ohio State recorded wins over Texas and Michigan, both of which were ranked No. 2 at the time they played the Buckeyes, and played Florida in the BCS championship game in Arizona. In 2007, despite the loss of 12 players to pro ball, 11-2 Ohio State won another outright Big Ten title and carried the No. 1 ranking in the polls for five weeks, again advancing to the BCS title game, facing LSU in New Orleans. In 2008, the Buckeyes again won a share of the Big Ten title, polished off Michigan (42-7) for an OSU record fifth straight time, and faced Texas in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl; the heavily favored Longhorns pulled out a 24-21 victory with just 16 seconds remaining in the dramatic thriller.
Prior to coming to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 seasons as head coach at Youngstown State, where he also served for a time as athletics director. His years there were ripe with success, the Penguins winning four national championships and qualifying for the Division I-AA playoffs a remarkable 10 times. During his stay at YSU, he compiled an overall record of 135-57-2 and was a four-time pick as the Division I-AA National Coach of the Year.
But making the jump to Ohio State was not a difficult decision for Tressel. His Buckeye roots run deep.
His father, the late Lee Tressel, who became a coaching legend at Baldwin Wallace College in northeastern Ohio, played briefly at Ohio State before his collegiate career was cut short by World War II. As a youngster, Jim grew up shagging balls for Cleveland Browns' great Lou "The Toe" Groza who also attended Ohio State.
Born in Mentor, Ohio, where his father reeled off 34 consecutive wins as a high school coach before becoming the head coach at Massillon High School, Tressel spent most of his childhood in Berea, more often than not accompanying his father to football practices and games at Baldwin Wallace.
A 1971 Berea High graduate, Tressel played for his father at Baldwin Wallace, earning four letters at quarterback and winning all-conference honors as a senior in 1974. He graduated cum laude in 1975 with a degree in education.
Jim embarked upon his coaching career in the fall of 1975 as a graduate assistant at Akron, where he remained through the 1978 season, serving in a full-time capacity his last three seasons as coach of the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs. While at Akron, he earned his master's degree.
Tressel spent the 1979 and '80 seasons as quarterback and receiver coach at Miami of Ohio. He left the "Cradle of Coaches" in 1981 to become the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse, where he spent two seasons before returning to Ohio in 1983 as a member of Earle Bruce's Ohio State staff.
In Tressel's first year at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a 9-3 record and defeated Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl, OSU scoring the winning touchdown on a 39-yard pass from quarterback Mike Tomczak to split end Thad Jemison with 39 seconds left in the game.
In 1984 and '85, Tressel was given the added responsibility of coaching the Buckeyes' running backs. The '84 team won the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl, and junior tailback Keith Byars finished second in the Heisman voting. In 1985, the Buckeyes defeated BYU in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Regarded as one of the up-and-coming young assistant coaches in college football, Tressel was ready for the next step. But his transition to head coach at Youngstown State did not start auspiciously. Tressel's first team lost the first four games of 1986 and finished with a 2-9 record. His first win as a college coach came 30-6 against Tennessee Tech in Youngstown Oct. 11.
But from that humble beginning, Tressel built a powerhouse.
In 1987, the second-year coach guided the Penguins to an 8-4 record and their first appearance in the Division I-AA playoffs. YSU won the Ohio Valley Conference title and Tressel was named OVC Coach of the Year. In 1989, the Penguins began an incredible run of six consecutive playoff appearances, winning three national championships and playing in four straight title games between 1991 and 1994.
Tressel's first national crown came in 1991, when the Penguins defeated Marshall, 25-17, in the championship game. As a result of that victory, Jim and his dad became the only father-and-son combination in college football to win national titles (Lee Tressel won the 1978 Division III crown at Baldwin Wallace).
The Penguins lost a championship rematch with Marshall the following year, but won the rubber game with the Thundering Herd in 1993 for their second I-AA title in three years. YSU won its third crown in four years in 1994 with a 28-14 win over Boise State. Tressel's fourth national title came in 1997, when the Penguins defeated McNeese State, 10-9, in the championship game. Youngstown State also played for the title in 1999, but lost to Georgia Southern in the finals. In 2000, YSU posted a 9-3 record and its 10th playoff appearance.
Five of Tressel's teams won 12 or more games in a season, including his 1994 championship squad, which fashioned a 14-0-1 record. His 1991, '92, '93 and '94 teams all played for the national championship, becoming just the second Division I-AA school to make four consecutive appearances in the title game.
Tressel recorded his 100th career victory against Indiana State (1997) and 200th at Washington (2007), just the 19th Division 1-A coach to reach that milestone. Even more remarkable, he is the third Tressel to reach 100 wins, joining his father (155 wins) and his older brother, Dick (currently OSU running backs coach), who coached at Hamline University (124 wins). As a family, Lee, Jim and Dick have won 508 games, secodn only to the Bowdens.
The charitable efforts of the Tressel family are equally productive. Jim and his wife Ellen (a Youngstown State graduate) are actively involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, the OSU Thompson Libraries and The Ohio State University Medical Center, particularly the James Cancer Center. They are the parents of four accomplished young adults: Zak, Carlee, Eric and Whitney.
Tressel Quick Facts
Tressel`s Career Record