I always thought Jim Tressel wanted to coach again. I just never expected him to say so before the day he put his name on a contract.
On Thursday, the former Ohio State football coach went on WBNS-FM 97.1 in Columbus and did everything but say, “Any NFL teams with a head coaching opening should call me,” and then repeated his cell phone number aloud three times.
When asked if he would be interested in becoming the Cleveland Browns coach, Tressel said, “I have not had discussions with Cleveland. That does not mean I don’t have any interest in the NFL. I don’t want to paint that picture.”
That burst of clarity came from a man who never met a subject he couldn’t talk around, a question he couldn’t sidestep and reporter he couldn’t filibuster into frustrated exhaustion.
If he hadn’t wanted to answer that question, he could have avoided it. But he answered it and told the NFL that not only was the door unlocked, it was standing wide open, so come on over.
He talked about how much he enjoyed his year as a special assistant and replay coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts after being forced out at Ohio State in 2011 for lying to the NCAA, lying to his bosses and knowingly playing ineligible players.
He said he wouldn’t change anything about the way he coaches if he would be an NFL coach someday.
He talked about how excited he was watching college bowl games. “If you love football, I don’t know how your blood doesn’t boil this time of year,” he told WBNS hosts Beau Bishop and Anthony Rothman.
Since 2012, Tressel has worked at the University of Akron as a vice president and fundraiser.
His first title was vice president for strategic engagement, then he was vice president for student success and then executive vice president. Unofficially, he is also resident celebrity fundraiser.
There has been much speculation that the next step for him could be moving into the president’s chair at Akron.
His declaration of his interest in coaching in the NFL would seem to be a move away from becoming Akron’s president.
His return to coaching always seemed to be a matter of when, not if, to me.
I take him at his word when he says he enjoys working with young people in his job at Akron. I just think he would enjoy coaching a lot more.
It’s tough to replace the adrenaline that comes from coaching on a big stage. And at age 61, Tressel probably is not ready to slip gracefully into the background.
Or is his sudden burst of candor something else?
For him to say he would be interested in a job is a radical departure from the way he usually operates.
Could this be designed to back the Akron board of trustees up against their own goal line and put pressure on them to make him president?
With Tressel, the planning switch is never in the off position. And if 10 years of covering him at Ohio State taught me anything, it is that only a very few people will ever know what is really going on inside his head.
Or could this have been his response to the Browns jumping so quickly to deny an Akron radio station report that he would be interviewed for the job?
That’s another thing a decade of covering Tressel taught me. Underneath that sweater vest, he is a fierce competitor. And he doesn’t forget.
His declaration of his interest in the NFL was definitely planned, and it could have been a little bit of payback.
A few other notes:
• Delphos St. John’s graduate Zefiryn Bryan recently went over the 1,000-point mark for her career at Southwestern College, an NAIA school in Winfield, Kansas.
Bryan is averaging 10.7 points a game this season. She is the 11th Southwestern women’s player to go over 1,000 points in a career.
• Lima Senior graduate Tyler White is averaging 10.1 points a game for NCAA Division I Northern Kentucky. He scored 13 points in a 75-60 loss to North Carolina last week.
• Lima Senior graduate Anton Hutchins is averaging 19.8 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for NCAA Division II West Virginia State.
• Lima Senior graduate Kendall Jackson is averaging 9.6 points and 5.3 rebounds a game for Claflin University, an NCAA Division II school in Orangeburg, S.C.
• New Knoxville graduate Marcus Reineke is averaging 16.8 points for Cedarville University and leads the team in 3-pointers with 32.
By Jim Naveau - The Lima News, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 The Lima News (Lima, Ohio)
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