For the high school football openers, the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association suggested a tribute to former YSU and Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
“The OHSFCA asked the head coaches to wear something in honor of Tress for everything that he did for Ohio,” Springfield coach Sean Guerriero said.
The results of the tribute were mixed — some coaches put on sweater vests and ties while others wore their standard coaching colors. Considering how Tressel’s career at Ohio State ended in a disappointing flameout, the response was pretty much appropriate.
At the Mathews-Western Reserve game, Mustangs coach Dave Harries wore a gray sweater vest while Blue Devils coach Anthony Hake wore a blue windbreaker.
Asked if he was a Michigan fan, Hake smiled and pulled up a chain that was around his neck. It had a picture of Woody Hayes on it — Hake is anything but a Michigan man.
“I’ll probably pull out a vest and wear it later in the season,” Hake said.
Poland coach Mark Brungard wore a sweater vest, short-sleeved shirt and tie in the game at Hubbard.
“Of course this was in honor of my favorite coach, Jim Tressel,” said Brungard, who quarterbacked Tressel’s YSU Penguins to national titles in 1993 and 1994. “I don’t know if I’ll wear this every week but tonight, this was for him.
At the Springfield-McDonald game, Guerriero wore black slacks, a black vest with a Springfield logo and an orange tie.
“Obviously having played for him, Coach Tressel has meant a lot to me and my staff,” Guerriero said.
From 1998-2000, Guerriero played for Tressel at Youngstown State. In January 2001, Tressel took the Ohio State job and Guerriero’s senior season was under Jon Heacock.
“[Tressel’s] meant so much to me personally and as a player. I just wanted to pay a little tribute to him,” Guerriero said.
Asked if he was going to wear it again, Guerriero laughed.
“No, I’m not a shirt and tie guy.”
On the other sideline, McDonald’s Dan Williams wore a blue shirt that matched what his other coaches wore. That doesn’t mean he’s not an Ohio State fan. When you call Williams, his phone plays “Across the Field” while you wait for him to answer.
In two games he covered for The Vindicator, correspondent Greg Gulas said none of the coaches participated (LaBrae’s Bill Bohren, Salem’s Mike Kopachy, Campbell’s Mickey Sikora and Mineral Ridge’s Joe Stevens).
Maybe it’s just as well that not everyone was on board. Tressel made some interesting choices in his final year at Ohio State and they aren’t the type that inspire parades.
It’s hard to believe that a man brilliant enough to turn a successful Division I-AA career into the most prestigious coaching position in the Buckeye State could morph into an absent-minded professor on the subject of NCAA rules.
Tressel’s devotion to quarterback Terrelle Pryor led him to bad decisions that cost him his million-dollar job. Despite Saturday’s romp over Akron, Buckeye fans remain puzzled why Tressel thought Pryor was more important than his football program and legacy.
If you judge Pryor on his million-dollar contract, then he’s a success. But if you judge him on being a man willing to face the consequences of his actions, Pryor is easily the most selfish, greediest and cowardly athlete OSU has ever produced.