CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is not looking to return to the sidelines anytime soon.
Tressel said Tuesday night he’s happy working for the University of Akron where he serves as the Vice President of Strategic Engagement.
“No, I’ve made a commitment to the University of Akron,” Tressel said when asked if he’s interested in coaching again. “I’m enjoying those kids like I love these kids [from the 2002 national championship team], so not at all.”
Tressel resigned in May of 2011 for not reporting NCAA violations and playing ineligible players during the 2010 season in relation to the tattoo and memorabilia scandal which resulted in a bowl ban from the NCAA for the 2012 season.
“It’s unfortunate the way it went down,” former linebacker Matt Wilhelm said. “Coach Tressel was being a man and trying to protect his players which he did for us and it’s sad the way it went down and it’s unfortunate.
“Jim Tressel was 3 seasons away from being eye to eye with Woody Hayes and having a statue outside the stadium.”
Despite his ouster, former players still hold Tressel in the highest esteem and regard him as a father figure.
“He’s a great leader and very influential on all of his athletes preaching family and education,” former defensive back Mike Doss said. “Everyone looks at the X’s and O’s, the 9-1 against Michigan, 3 national championship games and winning 1 national championship but he’s made some men better men outside of football.”
To them, his impact was more meaningful off the field than on it.
“He helped me grow as a man and look at life a lot differently,” Wilhelm said. “When you’re an 18 or 19-year old kid everything is fun and games. What he taught me was the discipline necessary to move on beyond football. To be a better father, husband and leader.
“Those things don’t necessarily pertain to the game of football but they do in life.”
The Buckeyes went 12-0 this season but because of Tressel’s coverup, they can’t play for a Big Ten or national title.
The 2002 National Championship team led by Tressel was honored Saturday in Columbus and the players hoisted their former coach on their shoulders during the 10th anniversary celebration.
Some Buckeye fans, who are still angry with Tressel over the sanctions, didn’t approve but former quarterback Craig Krenzel felt it was more than appropriate to show what he meant to them with the tribute.
“It shows what his players think of him,” Krenzel said. “There’s a lot of people that will question whether it was the right time to do it as we’re honoring a team for the players to make a statement about how they feel about their coach. I think it meant a lot to coach Tressel and there are fans who appreciate what he did for the university and program.
“For me it was a great time to be on that field.”
As part of the NCAA sanctions levied in December of 2011, Tressel was hit with a 5-year ‘show-cause’ meaning that any school who hires him to coach would face an immediate NCAA review and possible penalties.
Still his name surfaces on the rumor mill regularly.
Flattered? Yes. Interested? No.
So he says.
“Oh, it depends on who’s mentioning it,” Tressel said with a laugh. “People love to talk about the future and they care about there schools and so they rattle off a number of names. A lot of good places are open and they’re going to get great people to fill them.”
Tressel was on hand for the 60th Annual OSU Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland Football Banquet Tuesday evening at Windows on the River in the flats to raise money for The Ohio State University Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland Scholarship Fund.