Lantern file photo
Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching job and will learn in the next week if he’ll be hired, according to multiple reports.
Colts owner Jim Irsay has reportedly met to discuss the position twice with Tressel, who served as a game-day consultant for the team this past season. His main responsibilities involved consulting the team on in-game replay decisions.
From his Twitter account, @JimIrsay, Irsay tweeted at about 11 a.m. Saturday: “The #1 pick debate will rage on, what a great year to have it..the HC search is wide ranging n thorough, decision by mid 2 late next week.”
The Colts did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment regarding the team’s head coaching position.
Tressel opted to postpone his term of employment with the Colts until Week 7 of the NFL season due to concerns about current and former OSU players who were suspended in both the NFL and NCAA.
This past season, the Colts posted an NFL-worst 2-14 record. In Tressel’s final game coaching the Buckeyes, he led the team to a 31-26 victory against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That game, along with the entire 2010 season, was later vacated by OSU as part of its self-imposed penalties for violating NCAA policies. Tressel resigned from his post with the Buckeyes on May 30.
If hired, Tressel would not be the first coach to make a transition from coaching college to the NFL.
Many collegiate coaches have tried their luck at the professional level with varying degrees of success.
This past year, former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh took over a San Francisco 49ers team that went 6-10 during the 2010-11 season and led the squad to a 13-3 record and playoff berth the very next season.
“Harbaugh went from Stanford and turned the 49ers around completely, so (Tressel) could be the next Harbaugh,” said Andrew Curtright, a fourth-year in microbiology.
However, many successful collegiate coaches have failed at the next level as well.
Nick Saban won a national championship this year as Alabama’s coach, but before coaching the Crimson Tide, Saban made the jump from head coach at Louisiana State University to the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Though Saban had success at Louisiana State, including winning the 2003 BCS National Championship, he struggled in the NFL, losing more than half of his games and returned to college coaching after just two years.
Dawaun Horton, a fifth-year student in communication, said he thinks Tressel could be successful in making the jump.
“(The NFL is) all about running the team and putting the right players together and making it flow well,” Horton said. “He’s done that over the years so he knows how to do it.”
Though Tressel was already employed by the Colts, he did not have a major role.
“I was a little disappointed when he took the position he took in Indianapolis,” Curtright said. “It didn’t seem like his kind of thing sitting up in the box looking at video replays.”
Despite the nature of his exit, many students at OSU are happy to see Tressel step out of the replay booth and attempt to get back into head coaching.
“He’s an amazing coach and we’ve won a lot of championships with him, so it makes me happy,” said Alex Oglesbee, a third-year student in biology and Spanish.
Nathan Barraco, a second-year student in business, agreed.
“I’d like to see him get back into coaching,” Barraco said. “I’m supportive of it. I would just like to see him maybe get back into college more than the NFL. Sit out his five-year sentence and after that get back into it.”
The NCAA handed Tressel a five-year show-cause penalty for his role in the sanctions at OSU. The penalty means that if any NCAA school hires Tressel in the next five years, the school could face sanctions from the NCAA.
Tressel’s violations don’t figure to translate to the NFL and many OSU students feel like it’s time to move on and forgive.
“I don’t have any hard feelings toward Tressel,” Curtright said. “I don’t think anyone really does.”