After instant success at The Ohio State University, football coach Jim Tressel was asked if he would be a lifer at the college known for its powerful pigskin program.
His answer may have surprised many fans. He said he doesn’t expect to be coaching beyond the age of 80 like Penn State’s Joe Paterno, and maybe not even through the end of his sixties. Tressel turns 59 this year.
With the 2010 season about to start, the coach with the second best ever OSU football win record — 94-21 — isn’t ready to step down, but he may not be at the pigskin helm much longer.
Paterno offered Tressel a spot on his staff many years ago, but Tressel’s coaching father, Lee, advised his son to decline and to pursue his own head coaching jobs, because Paterno was unlikely to ever relinguish that position at Penn State.
Indeed, Paterno begins his 45th year in 2010 as the Nittany Lions’ head football coach, enjoying his 83rd birthday.
OSU 2010 Schedule
The Ohio State University begins the 2010 football season on September 2 in Columbus:
Sept. 2 — Marshall (in Columbus at 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network)
Sept.11 — Miami, Florida (Columbus at 3:40 p.m. on ESPN)
Sept.18 — Ohio University (Columbus at 12 noon on Big Ten Network)
Sept.25 — Eastern Michigan (Columbus at TBA)
Oct. 2 — Illinois (at Champaign, IL at TBA)
Oct. 9 — Indiana (Columbus at TBA)
Oct. 16 — Wisconsin (at Madison, WI at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN 2)
Oct. 23 — Purdue (Columbus at 12 noon)
Oct.30 — Minnesota (at Minneapolis, MN at 8 p.m. on ABC/ESPN/ESPN 2)
Nov.13 — Penn State (Columbus at TBA)
Nov.20 — Iowa (at Iowa City, IA at TBA)
Nov.27 — Michigan (Columbus at TBA)
This is the final season for the old Big Ten Conference scheduling. Nebraska joins the conference in 2011, and the conference will be divided into two divisions with a season-ending championship game played to determine the Big Ten Champion.
Jim Tressel’s Contract Extension
Many may not realize that Tressel already leads the Big Ten Conference in victories, NFL draft picks, and Academic All-Big Ten picks. He’s won six Big Ten titles in nine seasons, a national championship in 2002, and stands tall against Michigan at 8-1, an Ohio State football coaching requirement.
His winning percentage tops the next best coaching record by five points, with the exception of the 16-2, two-season slate recorded by Carroll C. Widdoes in 1944 and 1945 (88.9%), and John Eckstorm’s 29-game coaching performance of 22 wins, four losses, and three ties for 81.0% in 1899 through 1901.
John Cooper, whom Tressel replaced, attained a low profile 71.5% of wins through his 1988-2000 tenure. Cooper’s 13-year stint yielded 111 wins, 43 losses, and four ties. Woody Haynes, OSU’s god of coaching, went 205 wins, 61 losses, and 10 ties for a 76.1%, OSU’s third highest ever win percentage before Tressel’s current ongoing statistics.
Tressel’s current two-year extended contract includes the 2014 season as head coach, with no raise. But he got other perks, including six press box tickets to Ohio Stadium and two men’s and women’s basketball season tickets — lifetime. That would make it appear that Tressel has no interest in going elsewhere.
In addition, Tressel received an option, upon ending his football coaching position, to accept an associate athletic director position at OSU at an annual income of $150,000. It’s anyone’s guess when the coach will grab that option.
OSU’s current athletic director, Gene Smith, is popular throughout the NCAA community, and he has shown interest in other jobs, such as the NCAA presidency. He is currently chairman of the NCAA’s tournament selection committee for men’s basketball. Smith is 54.
The door is open for The Senator.
/Resources: Maple Street Press’s “Buckeye Battle Cry 2010 — Time to Shine” magazine, August/September, 2010; The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia”, by Jack Park and The Ohio State University, 2002/