On January 18, 2003, Ohio Stadium was half-full with frozen fans celebrating the Buckeyes' national championship. Only two years earlier, the Buckeye World was on the brink of emotional collapse after an agonizing nationwide coaching search which had turned up several candidates – some legitimate, some fabricated – concluded with the naming of Jim Tressel as the man to lead the Buckeyes back to Championship Valhalla.
While two years may not seem like such a long period of time, is actually half of a generation in college football. Archie Griffin was a Heisman Trophy winner for two years. Joe Germaine went from junior college to Rose Bowl MVP in two very short years. Tyson Walter was at Ohio State for a generation and a half, during which time he was able to alienate just about everyone who played for the Buckeyes. In regard to what happened in mid-January 2001, what is incredible is that in merely two years, many of the men involved in that now infamous search have experienced dramatic changes in their professional lives. Let's take a look at those players:
2001: Ohio State athletic director. Lead coaching search that ultimately resulted in the hiring of coach Jim Tressel.
2003: Ohio State athletic director. Leading donor search that will ultimately result in the much-needed renovation of the WHAC weight room. Geiger is also in charge of getting Ohio Stadium to use scoreboard to show valuable replays while being useful to the football-minded paying customer, instead of merely advertising women's field hockey. Forming committee to ensure that the real fans (i.e. the ones who contribute less than $10,000 annually to the university) don't get shut out of the next BCS bowl game that Ohio State gets invited to, resulting in a windfall of business for eBay. AD Geiger is still hard at work for Ohio State.
2001: Ohio State associate athletic director. Campaigned relentlessly to get Ohio State into completely undeserved New Year's Day bowl against South Carolina over Big Ten co-champion Northwestern, who was instead fed to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl.
2003: Ohio State associate athletic director. Was last seen being bowed to by former Heisman winners and college football greats on the field prior to the national championship. At press time, still an ambassador of all that is right in the world.
2001: Oklahoma head coach. Won 2001 Orange Bowl in second year as head coach, resulting in 2000 National Championship. Native Ohioan allegedly considered for Ohio State job.
2003: Still Oklahoma head coach. Won 2002 Cotton Bowl and 2003 Rose Bowl. Strangely, he has not defeated in-state rival Oklahoma State since being considered to succeed John Cooper…
2001: Ohio State University president.
2003: University of Maryland chancellor. Sorely missed, both from a CEO as well as from a public relations standpoint. Kirwan knew when to speak, what to say and when nothing needed to be said.
2003: Cleveland Browns coach. Left behind a Miami team that cold bowl of porridge could have coached to a national championship. During his tenor, the Browns have set NFL records for finding different, creative ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
2001: Former Buckeye great, now radio personality. Rumored to be considered for Ohio State job despite having no coaching experience.
2003: Still on the radio. Still the nicest guy that will ever run you over on a football field.
2001: Former Buckeye coach, unceremoniously fired in 1987.
2003: Former Buckeye coach, inducted into college football hall of fame in 2002 after 15 consecutive years of not losing to Michigan.
Fred Pagac, Sr.
2001: Assistant head coach and former Buckeye player considered for head coach.
2003: Defensive coach with Oakland Raiders, currently in negotiations to trade Charles Woodson back to the Fremont Ross Little Giants in exchange for a crate of Ohio tomatoes and to just feel clean again, for God's sake.
2001: Minnesota head coach and former Buckeye player considered for Ohio State job.
2003: Minnesota head coach who just lead Minnesota to bowl win over SEC runner-up. Is one non-crappy stadium away from having Minnesota in contention for much better things.
2001: Youngstown State athletic director and head football coach. Winner of four national championships.
2003: Ohio State head football coach. Winner of five national championships and one national coach of the year award. Still rebuilding Ohio State football.
2001: Fired as Ohio State head coach.
2003: Working for ESPN and the Cincinnati Bengals. In the annals of Buckeye coaching lore, Cooper is tied with Jim Tressel for victories over Michigan.
2001: Architect of Ohio State's defenses of the late 1990s. Upper Arlington native rumored to be considered for head coaching job.
2003: Was at North Carolina in 2001, now defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. Apparently liked Ohio State's preseason MAC schedule so much that he went to the ACC to consistently coach against teams on that level.
2001: Coach of the Oakland $%&#! Raiders. University of Dayton graduate rumored to be considered for Ohio State job.
2003: Coach of the Tampa Bay $%&#! Buccaneers. Super Bowl $%&#! Champions.
2001: Coach of the Oregon Ducks. Considered for Ohio State job. Allegedly asked Andy Geiger during his interview in Columbus if Ohio State plays Michigan every year.
2003: Coach of the Oregon Ducks. In a conference that plays no defense, Oregon's has been between awful and the absolute worst. Still reliving the glory days of his induction into baseball's hall of fame in 1995.
2001: Coach of the Pitt Panthers. Former Ohio State coach considered for head coaching job.
2003: Coach of the Pitt Panthers. Started 1-5 to begin 2001 season, but since then Pitt has been Tangerine Bowl-riffic. In six short seasons has taken Pitt from the Big East cellar to three December bowl games in five years.
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