Jim Tressel's College Hall of Fame Induction Reflects Family Legacy

January 1, 2015

When Jim Tressel ’75, is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame later this year, he will join his father, Lee ’48, in having achieved this pinnacle honor. The duo, who will be the only father-son members ever inducted, bring to life the spirit, passion and dedication reflective of the Tressel family.

Jim and Lee also are the only father-son combination in NCAA football history to both win national championships.

BW Student-Athlete Who Led by Example

While at BW, Jim was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference quarterback who helped the Yellow Jackets win championships.He was best known for being a student-athlete who led by example and was more concerned with helping his team rather than receiving personal recognition.

Impressive Coaching Leads to National Championships

Jim amassed an overall coaching record of 224-79-2 in 24 years as a head coach with five national championships. In 14 of his 24 seasons, his teams won 10 or more games.

His first head coaching position was at Youngstown State University (YSU). While there, he led the team to a 135-57-2 record, 10 NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances, six national championship games and four Football Championship Series national titles.

In 2001, he was named head football coach of The Ohio State University Buckeyes. He led OSU from 2001 to 2010 with a 94-21 record, six Big Ten titles and to the 2002 BCS (Bowl Championship Series) national championship. In that season, he compiled a 13-0 record and was named BCS Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). He also won that honor three times while at YSU, thus becoming the first person in the history of the AFCA to be Coach of the Year at two different schools.

In 2003, he was BW’s undergraduate commencement speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He was inducted into BW’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

He returned to Youngstown State University in 2014, where he now serves as president.

Legacy Rooted in Mentoring, Leadership

From the focused demeanor of Lee ’48, to the spirited bleacher cheers of his wife, Eloise, ’72, the legendary family is best known for their love of football. But their most important record is the lasting impact they brought to generations of young men. It was a model of personal and professional success that shaped Jim and his brothers, Dick ’70, and Dave ’73.

As a fullback for the Yellow Jackets in 1943 and 1944, Lee led the nation in scoring. In 1958, he became the BW football coach, thus beginning a family legacy built on hard work, determination and vision.

Under Lee’s guiding hand, BW began a 37-year span of winning seasons. It included his leading the Yellow Jackets to its first NCAA Division III National Championship in 1978. Eighteen years later, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Following in the Family Footsteps

Dick, the eldest brother, followed his father into coaching. After playing football and baseball at BW, he went on to become head coach at Hamline University (Minn.) in 1978. He guided the team to more than 100 victories and two Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles during his 23 seasons there.

He also held positions at The Ohio State University and Carleton College (Minn.). He retired from coaching following the 2013 season. Dick was inducted into the BW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

For Dave, passion and dedication took him through 35 years in the classroom for the Berea City Schools and as a member of the district's Board of Education, in addition to several other community leadership roles. In 2007, he was recognized by BW as an outstanding educator and in 2012 he was inducted into the BW Athletic Hall of Fame. He is currently president of BW's Alumni Council.

Today, the Tressel family legacy continues with a number of the grandchildren of Lee and Eloise in the coaching profession at the high school, collegiate and professional levels.

“Both my mom and dad were all about education first and athletics second," recalled Jim. "They were all about helping young people grow and establish themselves in productive careers. It followed naturally that in watching the personal satisfaction that it brought to them, that the same things became the things we would prize, too.”