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24 Club: Jim Tressel, The Great Bane of the Wolverines

Tressel turned The Game into the lopsided affair we know today.

Head Coach Jim Tressel of Ohio State... Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

There have been 24 head coaches in the history of Ohio State football. Each has a story and legacy. This offseason, Land-Grant Holy Land’s new series 24 Club will help you get to know the coaches from past and present who built the program. Today we look at Ohio State’s 22nd head coach — Jim Tressel.


Name: Jim Tressel

Seasons Coached: 10 (2001-10)

Overall Record: 106-22 (Including vacated wins in 2010)

Where Does He Rank in the 24 Club?

Overall Wins: No. 3 out of 24 OSU Coaches

Winning Percentage: No. 4 out of 24 OSU Coaches


Jim Tressel stepped in to lead the Buckeyes after John Cooper. Cooper’s talented teams couldn’t beat Michigan and struggled mightily in bowl games. Tressel’s Buckeyes rose quickly — snapping a losing streak against the Wolverines on the road in his first season and going 14-0 on their way to a National Championship in his second.

Tressel’s recipe for success was equal parts high-level recruiting and regularly beating Michigan. That resulted in OSU nearly always being a part of the National Championship conversation. But like many Ohio State coaches before him, Tressel would not leave on his own terms. He resigned in 2011 in the wake of Tattoo Gate.

Nevertheless, Tressel’s tenure at OSU is one of the most successful in program history. He finished with an unheard of 9-1 mark against the Wolverines. At the time, it was the best winning percentage of any OSU coach ever against Michigan. He ranks as the third-winningest Ohio State coach of all time (even if you don’t count the Buckeye’s vacated wins from 2010).

But Tattoo Gate left the program in turmoil. A disappointing 6-7 season would follow under interim head coach Luke Fickell after Tressel resigned. Ohio State needed a fresh start and to re-energize the program. Urban Meyer’s arrival on campus would do just that.