Jan. 22, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jim Tressel, named Jan. 18 as the 22nd head football coach in Ohio State history, today announced the first four members of his new staff.
Tressel’s first four appointments are: Jim Bollman, who will serve as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Mark Dantonio, who will take over as defensive coordinator and also will coach the defensive secondary, Ken Conatser, who will coach the special teams, and Bob Tucker, who will become Director of Football Operations.
“I am really excited to make this announcement,” said Tressel, who comes to Ohio State from Youngstown State, where during his 15-year stay he won four national championships. “These guys are terrific football minds. But more importantly, they are four of the finest men you will ever meet. They are the kind of people that I would want my son to play for.”
Bollman, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, has spent the past two years as tight ends coach for the Chicago Bears. Prior to joining the Bears’ staff, he spent a year with the Philadelphia Eagles in the same capacity.
A 1977 graduate of Ohio University, Bollman spent 21 years in the collegiate ranks after graduation, with stops at Miami (1977-82), North Carolina State University (1983-85), Youngstown State (1986-91), Virginia (1992-94) and Michigan State (1995-97). At Youngstown, under Tressel, he served at separate times as both offensive and defensive coordinator. He was the offensive line coach at Michigan State.
“I grew up in Ohio and heard about Ohio State all my life,” Bollman said. “I am thrilled to be part of this staff and to be reunited with Coach Tressel. Jim Tressel is the reason I am here.”
Dantonio was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Zanesville, Ohio. He played his college football at South Carolina, earning three letters as a defensive back before receiving his degree in 1979. Dantonio, who has spent the past six seasons at Michigan State, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio University in 1980. He later coached at Purdue (1981), Butler (Kan.) JC (1982), Ohio State (1983-84), Akron (1985), Youngstown State (1986-90) and Kansas (1991-94). His first season at Michigan State was the 1995 campaign. He coached the Spartans’ secondary for five seasons and was elevated to defensive coordinator prior to the 2000 season.
“I am excited to be back at Ohio State,” Dantonio said. “It is a great honor to be here and I look forward to again working with Coach Tressel.”
Conatser, who has been the assistant head coach at Youngstown State the past nine years and has been a member of Tressel’s staff since 1986, is thrilled to be a member of the Ohio State coaching fraternity.
“As a high school coach, I used to sit in the end zone of Ohio Stadium with my teams and watch the Buckeyes play,” he recalled. “This is a special day in my life. It is hard to put my feelings into words.”
Conatser, born in Cincinnati, graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1962. He coached high school ball for two years after graduation, then spent two seasons (1964-65) as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. In 1966, he became head coach at Harrison High School in Cincinnati, a position he held until taking over at Western Hills High School in 1970. Conatser jumped to the collegiate ranks in 1971 as offensive line coach at Massachusetts, but returned to the Cincinnati area in 1972 as head coach at Milford High School, a position he held until 1977. After a four-year hiatus from coaching, Conatser became offensive line coach at Syracuse in 1981. He then spent two seasons at San Diego State (1984-85) before joining the Youngstown State staff in 1986.
For Tucker, who has been a member of the Youngstown State staff since 1997, Ohio State is familiar turf. He served as a member of Earle Bruce’s coaching staff from 1979 to 1984, spending the first four years as linebackers’ coach and the last two as defensive coordinator.
A native of Sandusky, Ohio, Tucker graduated from the College of Wooster in 1965. After one season as a graduate assistant at Penn State (1966) and two more as an assistant coach at Massillon High School under Bruce (1967-68), he joined the staff at Wichita State in 1969. In 1973, he joined the Iowa State staff and remained there until 1979, when he accompanied Bruce to Ohio State. He left Ohio State after the 1984 season to become head coach at Wooster, remaining there for 11 seasons (1985-95). Tucker spent the 1996 season at Wooster High School before joining forces with Tressel at Youngstown State in 1997 as defensive coordinator.
“I am happy to be back at Ohio State,” Tucker said. “I have a lot of fond memories from my first stay here and I look forward to again being part of the excitement that is Ohio State football.”