Lee Tressel - The Coaching Years
(Excerpted from "...And We Must Excel")
A Cartwheel of Memories
Baldwin Wallace's thrilling 14-7 victory over Wittenberg in 1968 had an added wrinkle that was almost forgotten in the school archives. It was the famous "Cartwheel Play."
Jack Mental, who was injured later in the game, was the quarterback and Chuck Mayville was the fullback. Late in the first half coach Lee Tressel called the "Cartwheel." Mental was calling out for signals, Mayville went in motion toward the BW stands and when he passed by Mental he began doing cartwheels.
On a keeper, while everyone was in astonishment watching Mayville, Mental swept right and gained about seven yards going outside the right tackle.
"Everyone on the other side of the ball stood up and started pointing," recalled wideout Vern Sharbaugh. "It wasn't for a long gain, but it got everyone's attention."
"Mayville probably learned how to do it in Coach Dave Demmerle's gymnastics class," said teammate Larry Sklenka.
"As a lineman I didn't see the play, but I heard it," said Greg Nackley. "Several of us were just talking about the play not too long ago."
The Tressel family of coaches is second only to the Bowdens in college coaching victories for one family.
The Bowdens, Bobby and sons Terry and Tommy, had accumulated more than 460 coaching victories from 1959 through 2002. The Tressels, Lee and sons Dick and Jim, have accumulated 434 . Lee had 155 at Baldwin Wallace, Jim has 155 at Ohio State and Youngstown State, and Dick, had 124 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, before recently (two years ago) joined Jim at The Ohio State University as the Director of Football Operations.
The Tressels are the only family in which each of the three coaches accumulated more than 100 coaching victories.
Baldwin Wallace is one of the few colleges in the United States with a football program that has had three head coaches with at least 100 coaching victories through the 2000 grid season. Lee Tressel had 155, Bob Packard 156, and Ray Watts 104.
From Twister Tressel to Dr. Lee Tressel
Lee Tressel left an indelible mark at Baldwin Wallace University, but if not for World War II, he may not have ever even visited the school, let alone become a local legend.
A farm boy from Ada, Tressel began his collegiate football career at Ohio State University, but he joined the Navy in WW II and was assigned to Baldwin Wallace in the Navy-12 program. He liked it so much that when he returned to civilian life he also came back to BW to earn his degree and set high standards on the gridiron. He earned his doctorate at Indiana University.
Lee Tressel lost a two-year battle with cancer and died April 16, 1981 at age 56. As a football player, athletic director and coach, Lee Tressel was synonymous with BW. He and the school intertwined, if you will. You think of one and you think of the other.
As a fullback for the Yellow Jackets in 1943 and 1944, he led the nation in scoring and finished his career with a then school record of 201 points. "Lee always appeared to be running downhill" said Joe Carlo, a collegiate teammate and member of Tressel's coaching staff for many years.
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