Jan. 18, 2001
* Press Conference Photo Gallery
* Jim Tressel’s Bio
* Tressel Steps Up To The Big Time
* Tressel Dons Red Cap as New Buckeye Coach
* Youngstown St.’s Tressel To Become Buckeyes’ Coach
* Send a Postcard!
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jim Tressel, who led Youngstown State University to four national titles, is Ohio State’s new head football coach. Tressel’s appointment as the 22nd head coach in Ohio State history was announced today by Andy Geiger, Ohio State Director of Athletics.
“I am very proud to name Jim Tressel as our new head football coach,” Geiger said. “There were never any doubts with the X’s and O’s – the football side of it was not an issue. What really sold me was Jim Tressel the person and what he brings to the table in other areas. I really listened to the people in the Youngstown area about what he has meant to the university and the community. He is a proven winner, disciplinarian and cares deeply about his players. He is as fine a person as I’ve seen in 40 years in athletics. He is the person who can take our football program to the next level.”
Tressel’s appointment concludes a search that began Jan. 2, when Geiger announced John Cooper would not be retained as the OSU head coach.
“It is with tremendous excitement and humility that I accept the challenge and responsibility as the head football coach at The Ohio State University,” Tressel said. “While touring campus this week, three words constantly appeared: tradition, people and excellence. Our task will be to uphold and build upon the storied past of Ohio State football, while developing each individual to reach his full potential on and off the field. This must all be done within the framework of the team, as we seek the standard of excellence of our great state and institution.”
Geiger offered the job Wednesday afternoon and Tressel accepted. They agreed to a five-year contract at a base salary of $700,000, plus a $100,000 signing bonus. The salary includes annual increments of $100,000.
Few college head coaches have accomplished what Tressel has in 15 seasons at Youngstown State. Including the four national titles in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997, YSU appeared in a total of six championship games. Tressel also recorded 12 winning seasons and 10 playoff appearances. Last year, YSU finished with a 9-3 record and a berth in the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
The 1999 campaign was the fifth time in 15 seasons his teams won 12 or more games. It was the Penguins’ sixth trip to the finals in the last 10 seasons. Named head coach in 1986, Tressel has a career mark of 135-57-2 in 15 seasons.
His 135 career wins are the second most in school history behind Dwight “Dike” Beede’s 147 victories.
Over the past two years, Tressel has been instrumental in the Penguins achieving accolades in the classroom. The YSU football program had an amazing 67 players earn a 3.0 grade-point average or higher, including 28 following the 2000 fall semester, the last two years.
In 1999, Tressel guided the Penguins back to the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Youngstown State went on to win its fourth national championship in the 1990s with a come-from-behind win over McNeese State, 10-9. The four national championships are the most for a head coach in NCAA Division I-AA history.
The four-consecutive title game appearances, in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994, marked just the second time a Division I-AA team had accomplished such a feat.
After the 1997 season, Tressel was named the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. He picked up his 100th career win against Indiana State Oct. 4, 1997, shutting out the Sycamores, 31-0.
Tressel took over the Penguins’ program in 1986. The following season, YSU earned its first I-AA playoff appearance with an 8-4 mark and won its first Ohio Valley Conference title. For his accomplishments, Tressel was named the OVC Coach of the Year.
In 1989, the Penguins finished at 9-4 and advanced to the NCAA I-AA Playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
Tressel guided the Penguins to a perfect 11-0 mark in 1990. After the season, Tressel was named the Ohio College Coach of the Year. He earned that crown five times.
In 1991, the Penguins struggled to get into the playoffs with an 8-3 mark, but won eight consecutive games to end the season, including a 25-17 defeat of Marshall in the NCAA I-AA Championship Game in Statesboro, Ga.
His finest season came in 1994 when his Penguins went undefeated, winning 14-consecutive games en route to a 28-14 win over Boise State in the championship game. After a 10-all tie in the season opener, the Penguins ran the table and won that title. To go along with the national title, Tressel was named the Eddie Robinson, Chevrolet, American Football Coaches Association and Ohio Coach of the Year.
The name Tressel is synonymous with Northeast Ohio football. Jim is the son of the late Dr. Lee Tressel, who compiled an outstanding 155-52-6 record as head football coach at Baldwin-Wallace College. In 1978, he led BWC to the NCAA Division III National Championship. They are currently the only father and son combination to win National Coach of the Year honors. They also are the only combination to win national grid championships. Jim’s brother, Dick, who retired from Hamline University in 2000, gave the Tressel family the distinction of being the only football coaching family with at least 100 collegiate wins each. The trio has combined to win more than 400 games, second to only the Bowden family, which has more than 440 collegiate wins.
A 1971 graduate of Berea High School, Tressel was a cum laude graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, earning four varsity letters as quarterback for his father’s Yellow Jacket squad. After graduating in 1975, he served as the offensive backfield coach at the University of Akron for Jim Dennison.
In 1977, he received his master’s degree and left Akron for Miami University. Tressel served as the quarterback and receiver coach for the 1979 and 1980 seasons under Tom Reed. During the 1981 and 1982 seasons, Tressel performed the same duties under Dick MacPherson at Syracuse University.
At the conclusion of the 1982 campaign, Tressel was offered the opportunity to return home to the Buckeye State as the quarterback and receivers coach at The Ohio State University. In Tressel’s three seasons at Ohio State, he coached seven athletes that eventually wound up on NFL rosters. During his tenure, Ohio State participated in the Citrus, Cotton and Rose bowls.
Tressel is an active member of the American Football Coaches Association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Outstanding Young Men of America along with serving on the Executive Board of the Youngstown Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities and the Salvation Army.
Jim and wife Ellen have four children: Zak (21), who currently is a junior at Ohio State, Carlee (18), Eric (16) and Whitney (15).
Tressel’s Youngstown State Record Year W L T Pct. Postseason (round) 2000 9 3 0 .750 Playoffs (1) 1999 12 3 0 .800 Runners-up 1998 6 5 0 .545 1997 13 2 0 .867 Champions 1996 8 3 0 .727 1995 3 8 0 .273 1994 14 0 1 .967 Champions 1993 13 2 0 .867 Champions 1992 11 3 1 .767 Runners-up 1991 12 3 0 .800 Champions 1990 11 1 0 .917 Playoffs (1) 1989 9 4 0 .692 Playoffs (2) 1988 4 7 0 .364 1987 8 4 0 .667 Playoffs (1) 1986 2 9 0 .182 Totals 135 57 2 .701