Jim Tressel Bio

Jim Tressel Bio

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If you are a fan of Ohio State Buckeyes football, the name of Jim Tressel may be one that comes to mind. Before there was Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, Jim Tressel was the head coach of the venerable Buckeyes football program for 14 years. His coaching career started in his native Ohio, where he coached with a record of 229 wins, 79 losses, and two ties.

During his 35 total years of coaching, he has won multiple awards and a total of five national football championships (4 in Division 1-AA and one BCS). Today, Tressell has long been away from football and now serves as the president of Youngstown State University. For Tressel, he has become a legend in his home state. If the sport of football didn’t run in the family, things might have been different.

Jim Tressel Quick Facts

  • Full Name: James Patrick Tressel
  • Birth date: December 5, 1952
  • Nickname: Jim, ‘The Senator’, ‘The Vest’
  • Nationality: American
  • Siblings: Dick Tressel
  • Wife: Ellen Tressel
  • Profession: Football coach, President of Youngstown State University
  • Salary: $375,000 (as of 2021)
  • Net Worth: $18 million
  • Social Media: @JimTressel5 (Twitter)
  • Awards:
    • NCAA Division 1-AA National Champion (1991, 1993, 1994, 1997)
    • 2002 BCS National Championship
    • 2002 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award
    • 2002 Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Award
    • 2013 Youngstown State Athletics Hall of Fame
    • 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee
    • 2015 Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee

Jim Tressel Birthplace and Early Life

Jim Tressel was born in Mentor, Ohio on December 5, 1952. His father was Lee Tressel, who was the football coach at Mentor High School. The elder Tressel lead the team to a 34-game winning streak, earning him a head coaching job for the NCAA Division II Baldwin-Wallace College. The Berea, Ohio based program won the Division II National Championship in 1978.

As a young child, Jim Tressel would always attend the Baldwin-Wallace football games and practices. He learned the game under his father and became friends with Cleveland Browns player Lou Groza. Tressel graduated from Berea High School in 1971 and attended Baldwin-Wallace, where he played as quarterback during his father’s tenure as coach.

The younger Tressel earned four varsity letters and all-conference honors in 1974. The following year, he graduated with a degree in Education from the school.

Early Coaching Career Of Jim Tressel

After graduation, Tressel became a graduate assistant for the football program at the University of Akron. While attending the school to earn a Master’s in Education, he was coaching offensive players including the wide receivers, half backs and quarterbacks. He would spend three years with the team before he became the quarterback and receivers coach at Miami University (OH) in Oxford.


After two seasons, he took the quarterback coach job at Syracuse University. He stayed with the Orange football team until he returned to Ohio to accept a similar job with Ohio State University. During his first year as the quarterback/wide receivers coach, the Buckeyes went 9-3 and won the Fiesta Bowl over the Pittsburgh Panthers. Ohio State has won the game with 39 seconds left on the clock and then-Quarterback Mike Tomczak threw the winning touchdown to Thad Jemison.


The following season, Tressel began coaching the running backs along with the quarterbacks and receivers. The team won the Big Ten championship and Keith Byars finishing second in the Heisman Trophy votes. The following year, the Buckeyes won the Citrus Bowl over Brigham Young.

Youngstown State

After the 1985 season, Tressel accepted the head coaching job at Youngstown State University. In his first year, the team finished with a record of 2-9. However, they improved to an 8-4 record in Tressel’s second season with the team along with winning the Ohio Valley Conference.

Tressel and the Penguins football team would make four consecutive appearances in the Division I-AA National Championship from 1991-1994. In their first appearance, they secured the National Title defeating the Marshall Thundering Herd. That win made him one of two father-son duos to coach football teams to a national title.

The Penguins returned to the National Title game the following year, playing Marshall once again. However, the Herd avenged their loss the previous year by snagging the national title from Youngstown State. The following year in 1993, it was Youngstown State versus Marshall in a rubber match for the title with Tressel and the Penguins winning the title yet again.

Youngstown State JIM

In 1994, Youngstown State faced off against the Boise State Broncos and defended their title. The team would not make an appearance in a national title game until 1997 when they beat McNeese State 10-9, securing their fourth ever title. During that season, Tressel won his 100th game in a victory over the Indiana State Sycamores.

In 1999, Youngstown State made an appearance in the national title game and lost despite posting a 12-3 record that season. The following year, they went 9-3 but were ousted in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. During Tressel’s tenure as head coach of Youngstown State, he compiled a record of 135-57-2 while racking up Division I-AA Coach of the Year awards in all four years he had won the national title.

While Tressel had accomplished quite a bit during his time at Youngstown State, it wasn’t without controversy. In 1998, an allegation came to light that Ray Issac, a quarterback who was on the team during their 1991 championship season, accepted gifts from a chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees.

The allegations were brought to light in 1994 during an initial investigation. Tressel had never met with Issac during the investigation. According to testimonies, Tressel spoke with Mickey Monus about a job for Issac. Despite the statute of limitation running out at the time, the team did not vacate their 1991 title despite Tressel not being cited for any wrongdoing.

Ohio State University

After their loss in the 2001 Outback Bowl, the Ohio State University football team fired head coach John Cooper. Tressel returned to the Buckeyes football program as the new head coach after a near 20 year absence. Tressel lead the team to back to back 19 game winning streaks, with the first one spanning the 2002 and 2003 season and again in the 2005 and 2006 campaign.

During his time at Ohio State, Tressel managed to attain the second highest winning percentage in the football program’s history. As coach, Tressel developed a legendary reputation as the guy who would wear sweater vests while patrolling the sidelines. He also developed a style of play calling that was known as ‘Tresselball’. This style of play had an approach that relied on scoring enough, a strong defense, and using field position to their advantage.

His composure and diplomatic handling of the media earned him the nickname ‘The Senator’ by ESPN’s Chris Fowler. In 2001, Ohio State returned to the Outback Bowl with a 7-5 record and lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks, their opponent from the previous year. At one point, the team was down 28-0 but tied the game and eventually lost on a last second field goal.

The following year in 2002, they finished 14-0. They were the first ever team in college football to finish undefeated. They won in double overtime over the Miami Hurricanes to secure the 2002 National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to their win, the Buckeyes had not won the title in over 30 years.

The Buckeyes finished 11-2 the following year, but failed to rank high enough to defend their national title. They lost their 100th meeting to the rival Michigan Wolverines 35-21. However, they returned to the Fiesta Bowl in 2004 with a victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, 35-28.


The 2004 season under Tressel was not as successful as the previous two. Despite being unranked, they defeated #7 Michigan in their annual rivalry game. They finished with a record of 8-4 and a win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. However, their fortunes had changed in the 2005 season when they finished 10-2, with losses to Penn State and eventual national champions Texas. The Buckeyes made an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl and beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 34-20.

During the 2006 campaign, the team went unbeaten yet again including a 3 point victory over Michigan. During their meeting, the teams were ranked first and second respectively. They made an appearance in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game where they lost to the Florida Gators 41-14. Despite the big loss, the Buckeyes didn’t waver in their 2007 campaign.

The team went 11-1 the following year and secured their third straight Big Ten title. They returned to the National Championship game once again, but this time against the LSU Tigers. The Buckeyes failed to win the title yet again losing to the SEC team 38-24. They became the second team to make back to back BCS title game appearances and lose (the other being the Oklahoma Sooners).

The 2008 season saw Tressel and the Buckeyes winning their fourth straight Big Ten title and making another appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. Their opponents were the Texas Longhorns, who defeated them with 16 seconds left in the game despite coming back from an 11 point deficit. The following year, the Bucks secured the Big Ten title for the fifth consecutive time and went on to beat the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

The 2010 season saw the Buckeyes post a 12-1 record. That season was soon vacated as a result of NCAA violations citing Tressel’s use of ineligible players with full knowledge. As a result, Tressel was suspended for two games during the 2011 season along with a $250,000 fine. However, Tressel would not serve the suspension as he resigned his post as the head coach of Ohio State on May 30, 2011. During this time, there had been reports of the Ohio State Football team being associated in wrongdoings that were brought to the attention of the NCAA.

This included a scandal involving memorabilia for tattoos dating back to their 2002 championship season. Tressel was replaced by Luke Fickell, who previously served as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Later on, Tressel accepted a job as a consultant for the Indianapolis Colts. However, the team decided that Tressel would serve his suspension until the 7th game of the season because of the scandal that led to his resignation at Ohio State.

The Ohio State Scandal: What You Need To Know

Prior to Tressel’s departure from Ohio State, a radio station in Columbus had posted the emails that were sent to Tressel regarding players getting involved with someone with a criminal history. It was said that Tressel disregarded the emails as it may have been a distraction from football matters.

The first email was sent on April 2, 2012 from an unknown source. Tressel sent a reply wishing the sender a Happy Easter and stating he would get on it ASAP. Thus, Tressel took no action, which would eventually led to the scandal becoming public knowledge.

Post-Coaching Career

Tressel returned to his home state of Ohio where he accepted a job as the Vice President of Strategic Engagement at the University of Akron. He stayed on the job for over two years until he took over as President of Youngstown State University in 2014. Upon his hiring, he announced that he was officially retired from coaching football.

These days, he’s usually active on Twitter posting daily quotes with the hashtag #QuietTime. We don’t know what Tressel’s version of ‘Quiet Time’ is, but he certainly knows how to choose the best quotes and share them with his Twitter followers.

In October 2020, Tressel appeared in a YouTube video with Urban Meyer as part of a public service announcement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyer became the permanent head coach after Tressel’s departure from the team.

Jim Tressel Family

Jim Tressel is the son of Lee Tressel, a former head coach for Mentor High School and later Baldwin-Wallace College. He has a brother, Dick. He is married to Ellen Tressel and has three children.



Jim Tressel Net Worth and Salary

As of 2021, Jim Tressel’s salary as President of Youngstown University is approximately $375,000. His net worth is said to be around $18 million.

Jim Tressel Memorable Quotes

“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.”

“Play with heart; Play with passion; Play within yourself; Have fun ; Play like a champion.”

“Your goals are constantly revised according to circumstance, but your purpose, your real reason for being, that supersedes everything.”

Jim Tressel FAQ.

Question: Where Did Jim Tressel go to College?

Answer: He attended Baldwin Wallace University and the University of Akron

Question: Does Jim Tressel Have a PhD?

Answer: Tressel has a masters in Education, but does not have a doctorate degree.

Question: How Long Did Jim Tressel Coach Ohio State?

Answer: Tressel coached Ohio State for ten seasons. His record at the program was 106-22. However, 12 of the wins were later vacated due to the controversy that led to his eventual resignation from the team

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