OSU assistants looking for jobs
By Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch
They knew heading into the Gator Bowl that it would be their finale as Buckeyes coaches.
That Ohio State lost 24-17 to Florida in an uninspired performance stung Jim Heacock, Jim Bollman and Dick Tressel. They wanted to go out winners.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said Heacock, OSU’s defensive coordinator. “I thought the players prepared very hard. I thought our guys were really ready to play before the game. We just didn’t get it done on all three sides — offense, defense and kicking game.”
Now all three veteran coaches will be looking for new jobs as the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State begins without them.
“I’ve done a lot of communicating and talking to a lot of people,” Heacock said. “I’m probably going to take a couple of days to regroup.
“I’d like to keep coaching,” Heacock said. “I love coaching football. I like dealing with players and seeing them grow. It just doesn’t seem the right time to say that I’m going to hang up coaching yet.”
Heacock was with the Buckeyes since 1996, hired by John Cooper as defensive line coach and retained and then promoted by Jim Tressel.
“Like I’ve said before, 16 years is pretty darn good,” Heacock said. “I feel appreciative to have been here 16 years. I’m glad Tress kept me on after Coop. I’m really glad I had an opportunity to coach for those two guys. I think they are two outstanding people.”
Bollman was in charge of the offense this year after assisting Jim Tressel in past years. The offensive coordinator was a frequent target of criticism for the Buckeyes’ often unimaginative game plans and ineffectiveness.
“It’s a situation where we all have to deal with the cards we have,” Bollman said. “I know everybody on the staff worked hard to do the very best we could with the guys we had. It wasn’t as good as any of us would have liked. No excuses.”
Dick Tressel believes he still has something to offer as a coach.
“Other people get to evaluate,” Tressel said. “But personally, I think I’m OK as a coach.”
Heacock, Bollman and Tressel reached the heights of their profession. This season was the nadir, with the NCAA investigation and the first losing record season in 23 years.
“I certainly hate after all the years we’ve had here to have it end like this,” Bollman said. “I hate that.”