Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel reflects on memories of Ohio Stadium

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Jim Tressel has fond memories of his days at Ohio Stadium. 

“Everyone has extraordinary memories of what this place means to them,” Tressel said Sunday at the Ohio State athletic department’s celebration of 100 years of Ohio Stadium. 

The former Ohio State football coach, who led the Buckeyes to 94 wins and three national championships between 2001-10, began by giving some memories of his own, starting with his father, Lee Tressel. 

Lee Tressel, Jim said, was recruited and signed with Ohio State in 1942, joining the team in for its spring season in 1943 and playing in the Buckeyes’ spring game where he recorded a touchdown reception from Ohio State’s first Heisman Trophy winner Les Horvath

Lee Tressel, his son recalled, never had the chance to play in Ohio Stadium again, later becoming a fullback and coach at Baldwin-Wallace after enlisting in World War II, something Jim Tressel reflected on when he took an assistant coaching job at Ohio State in 1983 coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers. 

“When I got to walk into that opening game against Oregon, to think that I had a chance to compete in this stadium and my dad never did,” Tressel said. “That was important to me.” 

When Tressel returned as Ohio State’s head coach in 2001, he remembered playing a role in traditions that remain each game day for the football program. 

Tressel said he remembers asking former Ohio State marching band director Jon Woods to move his band from the north side of Ohio Stadium to the south side, so that his team could sing its school song “Carmen Ohio” after each game. 

Also, Tressel asked for his team to make a stop at the “Skull Session:” a pregame pep rally the marching band holds before each home game, saying the first time his players walked into the rally, “their eyeballs just about popped out.” 

OSU volleyball ready for next step:Ohio State women's volleyball's 'tired of nice,' no longer satisfied with Sweet 16 finishes

Former OSU returns to TV:Former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer returns to FOX's Big Noon Kickoff show

“The team is here to give the band a little rest before pregame and halftime,” Tressel said. “We’re the second show.” 

Tressel said he knows each person who has played or coached at Ohio State or even attended a game has memories of their time at Ohio Stadium. 

“The only thing constant is change,” Tressel said. “And the landscape has changed. And we’ve got to make sure that coach (Ryan) Day and his staff and his students and Gene (Smith), all the sports and everyone has every opportunity to get what they deserve, to see the appreciation all of us have for the memories they create for us.” 

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts