Considering he’s six months from induction into the national College Football Hall of Fame, it makes perfect sense that Jim Tressel would be in Ohio State’s Athletics Hall of Fame. And considering the way he left Ohio State, it would also make perfect sense – in another universe – that the Sweater Vest would never be associated with all things scarlet and gray for the rest of his time on this mortal coil.
But, here we are. On Wednesday, Ohio State announced its 2015 Hall of Fame class, and Tressel is in it. (Former football players Tim Anderson and why-wasn’t-he-in-15-years-ago Joey Galloway were also included.) The group, 14 in all, will be inducted Sept. 18 and celebrated during the Buckeyes’ Sept. 19 date with Northern Illinois.
Tressel rose the Buckeyes from the treadmill-of-very-good that they lived on with John Cooper to arguably the sport’s most consistent superpower over the last dozen years, reaching seven BCS games and winning one national title while playing for two more in his 10 seasons at the helm. He also went 8-1 against Michigan and claimed a half-dozen Big Ten titles.
But, ironically, Tressel’s Hall of Fame selection owes a large debt of gratitude to Urban Meyer. As USA Today‘s Dan Wolken points out, Meyer’s 38-3 mark, 24 straight regular-season Big Ten wins and 2014 national title can heal a lot of wounds.
Below is Ohio State’s official bio of Tressel. You won’t find any mention of his NCAA, uh, troubles:
Jim Tressel coached Ohio State from 2001-10 and guided the Buckeyes to an overall record of 94-21 with nine bowl appearances (including seven BCS games), six 10-win seasons, six Big Ten titles and a national championship all while posting an 8-1 record against rival Michigan. His 2002 team captured the Big Ten’s first consensus national title since 1968, posting a 13-0 regular-season record and then defeating 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 in the process.
Tressel, 229-78-2 in 24 years as a head coach, also guided Ohio State to national championship game appearances in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, Ohio State opened the season at No. 1 in the polls and held that ranking throughout the course of the regular season, becoming the first team to go wire-to-wire at the top spot. In 2007, 11-2 Ohio State won another outright Big Ten title and carried the No. 1 ranking in the polls for five weeks. The 2009 season was another memorable year for Ohio State, as the team won a sixth consecutive Big Ten crown, became the first school to defeat five 10-win teams in one season and capped the 11-2 campaign with a win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
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 and now serves as university president. He guided the Penguins to four national championships, an overall record of 135-57-2 and was a four-time pick as the Division I-AA National Coach of the Year.
Tressel, a native of Mentor, Ohio, will be enshrined into the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 in December.