After eight seasons as leader of the Buckeyes, Tressel has elevated a storied program to even greater heights. Since taking the reins in 2001, he has guided the Bucks to a 84-18 record, including seven bowl appearances, five BCS games, six 10-win seasons, five Big Ten titles and a national championship.
The numbers are plentiful and impressive indeed: five finishes in the Top 5, including the 2006 and 2007 squads that played for the national title; a .500 record (4-4) in bowl games; 3-3 in BCS games; two streaks of 19 consecutive victories; and an astoundingly impressive 7-1 mark against Michigan in one of college football's most storied rivalries.
Upon winning the 2002 BCS title in the Fiesta Bowl against the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes, Tressel earned himself national acclaim and the outright respect of his coaching peers. Despite perceived recent struggles in big games, "Tresselball" is still the talk of the town in Columbus and his legions of followers are devoutly loyal to him.
Winning the battle for field position is to Tressel what the weekly battle for turnovers is to Pete Carroll. In fact, Tressel commonly refers to the punt as being the most important play in football. Ohio State teams are defined by scoring just enough to win and backing it up with hard-nosed defenses that love to get physical.
Since coming to Ohio State, Tressel is 32-12 against ranked teams and 8-7 against Top 10 opponents. He is a master in close games, posting a 4-1 record in overtime at OSU and 22-12 in games decided by a touchdown or less. He is 52-12 in Big Ten play (8-0 in 2006 when the Buckeyes captured their first outright conference title since 1984).
Eight of Tressel's players, including linebackers A. J. Hawk (2005 Lombardi), James Laurinaitis (2006 Nagurski, 2007 Butkus, 2008 Lott), cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (2008 Thorpe), and quarterback Troy Smith (2006 Heisman, Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp), have won major individual awards. 20 have earned first team All-America recognition.
Tressel was named as the Buckeyes' 22nd head coach on January 18, 2001.
His original five-year contract was extended following the 2002 national championship season. His current contract runs through 2012.
Prior to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 seasons as the head coach at Youngstown State, winning four national championships and qualifying for the Division I-AA playoffs a remarkable 10 times. During his stay at YSU (where he also served as athletic director), 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.
Jim Tressel celebrates a win with his Buckeyes. (Badger Nation Photo)
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