The Ohio State football team will try to add to its role in school history when it takes the field against Northern Illinois on Saturday, but halftime will honor those who have already cemented their place in it.
The OSU Athletics Hall of Fame inducted 14 new members at a banquet Friday night. Included among the inductees were 12 former student athletes and two coaches.
The 2015 class is headlined by former football head coach Jim Tressel, who coached the team from 2001-2010. In his time as coach, Tressel accumulated a 106-22 record and won a national championship in 2002.
Tressel said he views his induction as a coach as something bigger than himself.
“When there’s a coach in the Hall of Fame, it’s totally different than a participant. You reflect about all 10 teams and all the people who make up the entire fabric of what Ohio State is about,” he said. “This is just thousands of people being recognized for the 10 years they spent together.”
Tressel’s time at OSU ended in controversy, but he said he is proud of what the team accomplished over his tenure and is honored that it is being recognized.
“Our 10-year block in the extraordinary structure of Ohio State athletics and Ohio State football I’m very proud of,” he said. “It’s humbling that the Varsity O and the Hall of Fame felt that this era should be recognized.”
Now the president of Youngstown State University, Tressel said the most important lesson he’s applied from his time as a coach is the understanding that every position is important.
“Until you know that you are insignificant without every single other person, you can’t reach your potential. Those are great lessons you learn in sports,” the former coach said.
Two other inductees were part of OSU football; defensive back Tim Anderson, who was with the team from 1968-1970, and wide receiver Joey Galloway. Galloway played 15 years in the NFL and is currently an analyst for ESPN.
Former basketball captain Terence Dials was also among the inductees. At only 32 years old, he said he was surprised but grateful to be inducted so young.
“It was very shocking to get the call, something I didn’t expect,” he said. “I definitely didn’t play basketball for this; I played it because I love the game. Everything that comes with it is just a bonus.”
Dials attributes much of his success to current basketball coach Thad Matta.
“If he didn’t come, we probably wouldn’t be looked at the same,” Dials said. “People come up to me and they thank me for the last couple of big years that we had at Ohio State, and it wouldn’t have been able to happen without coach Matta.”
Within the class of 2015, two members are still active within the university. Women’s golf coach Therese Hession has been with the team for 24 years. She is the seventh coach of a women’s team to be inducted.
Current wrestling assistant coach J Jaggers was also inducted for his time as a student athlete from 2006-2009.
Only six years removed from graduation, Jaggers is the youngest member of the 2015 class.
“It’s an honor that I’d be considered that quickly. I was very blessed to have the career that I had and the support that I had from my coaches and my family,” he said. “Maybe if I thought about this day, I’d be a bit older, but I welcome it and it’s fun.”
Jaggers is one of four Buckeyes to win multiple NCAA wrestling championship titles. Also among the four is Logan Stieber, who Jaggers coached.
Jaggers said that the emotions following a win are alike whether he’s a student-athlete or a coach.
“The feelings are very similar. Watching somebody seize their dream, and to even be just the smallest part of it is pretty special,” he said.
The other members of the class of 2015 are Justin Cook (men’s soccer), Lara Dickenmann (women’s soccer), Natalia Diea (women’s diving), Annabelle Fago (rowing), Perry Martter (wrestling), Teresa Meyer (pistol), Dan Seimetz (baseball) and Paul Tilley (men’s hockey).
The OSU Athletics Hall of Fame can be viewed inside of the Schottenstein Center.