Ohio State: What Will Be Jim Tressel's Coaching Career Legacy?

Ryan NeimanContributor IIIJune 1, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30:  Head Coach Jim Tressel speaks to the media during a press conference before the start of Spring practices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at The Ohio State University on March 30, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

And just as quick as a blink of an eye, Jim Tressel's legendary coaching career has come to a screeching halt.

Tressel resigned as the Ohio State football coach on May 31 amid an NCAA investigation of rules violation during the 2010 season.  

Of all days out of the year, Tressel decided to resign on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a national holiday designed to remember those who sacrificed their lives and everything to defend the foundations of our nation.

Is it irony or ignorance Tressel decided to retire on a proud day in our country?

Whatever it may be, Tressel's unexcused actions have crippled not only his foreseeable coaching career, but he has damaged the prestigious athletic programs at Ohio State University.

It's undeniable how successful Tressel was throughout his career.  He finished his Buckeye career with an overall record of 106-22, including seven Big Ten Conference Championships, a 6-4 bowl record, a 9-1 record against the rival Michigan Wolverines, and his 2002 team won the national title with a record of 14-0.  It was the first major college football team to be 14-0 since Penn went 15-0 in 1897.

Before he was at Ohio State, Tressel was the head coach at Youngstown State for fifteen seasons.  He won four NCAA Division I-AA football championships.

He finishes with twelve coach of the year awards and his overall coaching career record is 241-79-2.

Despite his excellent coaching career, how will Tressel's legacy forever be remember?

Will he be remembered as the coach who instilled inspiration, motivation, and hope like he did from his novel The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life?

 Or will he be remembered as a self-absorbed coach who truly only cared about the win and the loss column, as opposed to the integrity and dignity of the game?

If you want an answer for this question, it depends on the type of person you ask.

However, even if both sides are at a disagreement, eventually their answers will parallel each other.

If we were to combine their answers, it would look something like this:

"Jim Tressel is one of the most successful coaches who revolutionized the sport of college football.  Though most of his tactics were "unconventional" and repulsive, he managed to build a strong, traditional program.  He was a preacher of responsibility and he was a philosopher who impacted millions of student athletes and college campuses around the nation.  His legacy may be short-lived, but our memories will not be."