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Jim Tressel’s College Hall of Fame Induction Reflects His Family Legacy

On the Left: Jim Tressel '75 at a BW game wearing his replica #7 jersey On the Right: Tressel at the College Football Hall of Fame Induction with Pat Dunlavy '71
On the Left: Jim Tressel '75 at a BW game wearing his replica #7 jersey On the Right: Tressel at the College Football Hall of Fame Induction with Pat Dunlavy '71

BEREA, OHIO -- When Jim Tressel '75, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 8, 2015 at the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, he joined his father, Lee '48, in having achieved this pinnacle honor. The duo are the only father-son members ever inducted into the Hall. They bring to life the spirit, passion and dedication reflective of the Tressel family.

Jim and Lee are just one of two father-son combinations in NCAA football history to both win national championships.

"It is an extraordinary honor to have been selected by the National Football Foundation as a member of the 2015 class of the College Football Hall of Fame. To be inducted alongside such as distinguished group of players and coaches, and to join the previously elected members, is certainly humbling," said Tressel.

"Leading the way has been my family, who has unconditionally supported my passion to serve young people," continued Tressel, who is currently the President at Youngstown State University. "To join the same College Football Hall of Fame that my father, Dr. Lee J. Tressel, is already a member, is so, so meaningful."

BW Upbringing and Impressive Coaching Leads to National Championships

While at BW, Tressel, was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference quarterback who helped the Yellow Jackets win championships. He was best known for being a hard-nosed student-athlete who led by example and was more concerned with helping his team that receiving any personal recognition. In 2003, Tressel 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.

Tressel 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 journey to becoming a head coach started as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Akron. His journey took him to "The Cradle of Coaches", Miami University of Ohio, Syracuse University and OSU as an assistant before taking his first head coaching job at Youngstown State in 1986.

At YSU from 1986 until 2000, Tressel led the team to a 135-57-2 record, 10 NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances, six national championship games and four FCS (Football Championship Series) national titles.

In 2001, Tressel realized his dream when 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 AFCA (American Football Coaches Association). Tressel 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.

Tressel returned to Youngstown State University in 2014 as its 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 Tressel family is best known for their love of football.

But beyond the winning seasons and championships, 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 1967 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 culminated in 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 (Minn.) University in 1978. He guided the team to more than 100 victories and two MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) titles during his 23 seasons there.

When Jim took over at OSU, he asked Dick to join him. It was another great pleasure for Jim to be joined on the sideline by his brother for that 2002 national title. In 2001, Dick joined the Carleton (Minn.) College staff as its offensive coordinator and 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 and 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.

"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."

Today the Tressel Family leagacy continues with a number of the grandchildren of Lee and Eloise in the coaching profession at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, including Dick's son, Mike, who is the Defensive Coordinator at Michigan State University, and Dave's son, Lee, who is a Strength & Conditioning Coach with the New York Yankees. Jim has four accomplished adult childten in Zak, Carlee, Eric and Whitney.

This article was edit by the SID on January 21, 2016