On January 18th, 2001, a confident yet humble Jim Tressel addressed the assembled media to accept his new position as head football coach at Ohio State University. Speaking without any notes, Tressel charmed and impressed the media with his style and presentation.
While Jim Tressel had been a popular name during the coaching search to replace the fired John Cooper, Tressel was not considered the favorite to win the position - that honor would go to Minnesota's head coach, and Ohio State alumnus, Glen Mason.
Among the various candidates, besides Tressel and Mason, who were interviewed for the job were Ohio State defensive coordinator Fred Pagac (like Mason, a former Ohio State player and alumnus), former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman, and Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti. Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden never formally interviewed for the position, but Ohio State president Bret Kirwan did state that informal discussions did take place regarding the job.
When contacted by Ohio State on January 17th, 2001, to be offered the position, Tressel reportedly told Kirwan and Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger that "this is a dream job". And while Jim Tressel has had his share of ups and downs during his first decade at Ohio State, most Ohio State fans would agree that he truly demonstrated a passion and understanding of the importance of Ohio State football when he made a public appearance at the Ohio State/Michigan basketball game the evening of January 18th, 2001…