Exactly a year ago to the day and as I was in the midst of enjoying a morning on the links sans phone — Jim Tressel abruptly retired/resigned/was fired as the head football coach at Ohio State, a cloud of off-field controversy overshadowing a decade of on-field excellence.
Both The Sweatervest and his beloved Buckeyes have since moved on, the former initially to the Indianapolis Colts and then to the University of Akron in a non-sports position, the latter, after a sub-.500 season under interim coach Luke Fickell, to Urban Meyer in a hire that has rejuvenated the football program.
Tressel, given a five-year show-cause for lying to the NCAA regarding potential violations involving a handful of players, has spoken around the subject of his former school since his departure, but never directly addressed it in any meaningful way. While that’s still essentially the case, the former coach did go to greater lengths than he has previously in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Doug Lesmerises, which ran, obviously, to coincide with the anniversary of his official demise.
Addressing the possibility of, eventually, getting back in the school’s good graces, Tressel stated simply, “[t]ime has to take care of some things. … and then enjoy that recognition of every place I’ve been.” Tressel also stated that he holds no bitterness toward the university for what some still believe was the school unfairly stripping him of his dream job.
“It was going to end one day, in one way or another, and that wasn’t the way we wanted to end it,” Tressel told the Plain Dealer.
“Wow, a lot happens in a year, a lot that you don’t know is going to happen. But I don’t feel scarred or disappointed or mad. I just don’t feel that way. The people at Ohio State have always been great to me, and things end up the way they do, and you go on to the next play or the next day, and that’s always been the way I look at things.”
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.