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Coaching Tips

Is Jim Tressel a Good Coach?

Jim Tressel’s case should remind all of us that there is more to coaching than winning.

Tressel, football coach at Ohio State, is the head of a tainted program. In the latest development in an eligibility scandal, the NCAA has accused Tressel of failing to conduct himself with “honesty and integrity.” It also said he “violated ethical-conduct legislation.” Those words certainly add a dose of perspective to Tressel’s 106–22 record.

My friend and co-author Gary Pritchard said coaches should “teach values, not a sport.”

Appearing at an awards banquet Monday night, Tressel said, “There is nothing more important than the team and nothing more important than the kids.”

He’s wrong. There are plenty of things more important than the Ohio State football team. Here are three of them:


Those aren’t the first things you think of when the subject of Ohio State comes up. For a sense of priorities at that institution, remember what university president E. Gordon Gee said when asked if he would fire Tressel. “I hope he doesn’t fire me.”

Unfortunately, when people think of Ohio State, they’ll think of football, and not of the library, the professors and the real students.

When people think of coaches, they might think of Tressel. His supporters might argue that the allegations against him are not proven. That’s true. But that standard applies only in a court of law, and  this isn’t a legal case. It’s a question of whether someone under an ethical cloud should be leading young people and representing an institution of higher learning.

Thank goodness for the thousands and thousands of coaches who really mean it when they say there is “nothing more important than the kids.”

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” click here.


One comment for “Is Jim Tressel a Good Coach?”

  1. Hey Mike:

    Great post. I 100% agree.

    How are you?


    Posted by Steve Sears | May 5, 2011, 6:03 am

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