OT: If he leaves, who follows Tressel?

Submitted by Eye of the Tiger on May 24th, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Obviously rumors+allegations don't necessarily turn into verified violations, and even then, they don't necessarily turn into specific penalties, so Tressel may not be going anywhere after this year.  But there is a chance he will, at least.  If he does leave, who becomes their next coach?  Some candidates:

1. Urban Meyer.  Odds: 10-1


I think it's too early for Meyer to return to football, since he said he was going to spend time with his family.  Plus he's not going to leave retirement for a program riddled with sanctions anyways.  I just don't see this as likely, though the likelihood rises if Tressel sticks it out another year and/or OSU's penalties are light.  

2. Luke Fickell.  Odds 3-1.

If Tressel does get the boot this year, they'll likely pick a very solid, unspectacular, bean-counting, squeaky-clean true believer.  Fickell is many of those things.  If Fickell is not implicated in whatever causes Tressel to hypothetically leave, he's one of the prime candidates.  If not, they'll have to look elsewhere.  

3. Darrell Hazell.  Odds 5-1. 

Here's another possibility.  Though he was on the program until recently, he will have been away for the Tatgate shenanigans fallout.  Has most of the upside of Fickell too.  Only problem is that he was literally just hired as Kent State's coach, and a one-and-done flight to OSU could create more attention than a hypothetically beleaguered OSU athletic department, conceivably seeking stability, wants.

4. Mark Dantonio.  Odds 20-1.

I know some OSU bloggers are suggesting Dantonio, which would be funny in some ways, and not in others.  He had no compunction leaving Cincinnati for MSU, so I doubt loyalty would be a factor.  But I just don't see him leaving a stable MSU situation for an unstable OSU one (which is what it would be, in this hypothetical scenario).  

5. Someone else.  Odds 4-5.

As you can see, I think Fickell and Hazell are the most likely candidates, but both are almost certainly to be tarnished by whatever tarnishes might tarnish Tressel to the point where he goes.  So I don't give them more that a 41.67% chance of becoming the next OSU coach...unless the violations end up not being as bad as the allegations and Tressel stays on.  Then that likelihood increases.  

But if, indeed, they are, then I think the chances of looking outside, perhaps for a former OSU assistant or another successful lower-division coach rises.  Who are the likely candidates?  





May 25th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I don't think the issue is whether or not Dantonio would take the job, it's whether or not OSU offers it to him. I don't know the ins and outs of his coaching career, but he's had enough success at MSU to warrant at least a look. His record at MSU would suggest he's a not terrible choice, but not necessarily a great one. But I think the problem will be Dantonio's obvious inability to control his players. Media darling or not, any sane search committee is going to look at his teams' off field issues and pass.

Eye of the Tiger

May 25th, 2011 at 7:31 PM ^

If OSU gets slapped with major sanctions, they're going to want someone squeaky-clean, as they'll have to rebuild their image and also hope nothing else happens while under sanction.

If OSU gets slapped with major sanctions, a lot of coaches who might jump at the chance to coach there won't, because you might never make it to the good years.  

Someone who's a true believer in the program, but who was not around during the questionable years, would be the best fit IMO.  


May 25th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

I would love to see Dantonio take the job just because I can't stand that guy. Their #1 target is Meyer, but it is definitely way too early for him to return back to football. Dantonio is not a bad fit for the position. He has been doing well at msu and ohio is his home state. 


May 25th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

Seriously -- if indeed Tress is fired, and if the recent rumors are even 10% true, then the program will be TOXIC.

Assume: (1) loss of scholies, (2) bowl ban, (3) potentially a TV ban? (4) miscroscope of the press and NCAA for a few years, and (5) Bucknut fans desperate to recapture the glory and get past their version of Horror.

So, what big-name coach -- even of a decently successful middling team -- would take THAT rebuilding job?  And tSIO won't go to anyone remotely implicated in the affairs, hence, no current assistance need apply.

Seems to me, tSIO is likely to get:

(1) a never-been-HC before assistance OC/DC, who yearns to prove himself, or

(2) someone maybe who's been retired, or a long-time coach or something, with a SQUEEKY clean reputation and who doesn't yearn for national championships but instead likes the challenge of rebuilding tSIO (which will deify him in Ohio if he can).

I have no names in mind, esp. for #1.  But tSIO's calls to anyone like Gary Patterson, etc. are going to go unreturned.  Not even Dumbtonio would give up his second-tier gig at Sparty for the fourth-tier gig tSIO will be.


May 25th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

My sense is that they'll look in-house, though if the allegations spread too wide they might have to look at a Dantonio type just because he fits the mold and isn't sullied.  I've read a couple of places that Fickell is the likely successor, but he's also been around for almost a decade and you have to think he's not oblivious to some of the shenanigans that went down in Columbus.  

I think Tressel will survive this year just because it is so late in the year for a change, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was sent packing in 2012 as more comes out about his involvement/lack of oversight regarding Tategate.

What makes me laugh a little is that almost everyone was bummed out when Pryor chose the Bucknuts over Michigan, but since he arrived on campus he's underwhelmed on the field and been a pain off it.  Maybe he would have won a couple more games for RR that first year and he'd still be coach, but the drama level would have been through the roof and I'm not sure it would have ended well for anyone involved.


May 25th, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

I was under the assumption that L. Fickell would get a one year try and loaned out after the season while OSU does a quiet HC search, I don't think they could get a big name pending how big of an anvil that drops on OSU. Even if I was L. Fickell I would want to go to a MAC school while the caretaker HC takes the heat in C-Bus and either him or the Kent St coach(Hazell) comes back when the smoke clears. So my prediction would be L. Fickell all year followed by either the OC/DC (unless they are forced to clean house) to keep the program afloat for the time being and then hire the big coach when the program comes off recruiting restriction or Fickell/Hazell if there worthy.


Maybe too early to tell but IF what we're hearing is true and the shit is real in OSU land what would be the possible sanctions?


Has to more than USC but less than SMU. I think the OSU fan base wishing for just last year's season to be vacated might be a pipe dream, possibly the whole JT era? As Wolverine Historian has stated there going to be a popcorn shortage soon.

Eye of the Tiger

May 26th, 2011 at 12:38 AM ^

I think Bob is unavailable, honestly, so maybe they look at his li'l bro?

Not the greatest coach ever, at Arizona at least, but has the Big 10 pedigree and is from Ohio. Plus AFAIK there's never been a whiff of scandal at Arizona during his tenure.  

Also, this is an uninspired choice so I hope it's in consideration!


May 26th, 2011 at 2:33 PM ^

Really the speculation right now, while fun, is completely irrelevant. The direction of the next hire will depend greatly on two things:

a) How well OSU is able to peg this soley on Jim Tressel and 

b) The degree to which the NCAA punishes OSU.

The longer Tressel stays, the longer tOSU can paint him as an egotistical, power driven coach who betrayed his staff, players and University to win at all costs. With him there, there is a sense of a clear target, and all the other coach involvement becomes less important. However, if he were removed sooner than later, the floodgates might open up and we might see just how many of his assistants were involved. The more they appear to be involved, the less likely they will hire one of them to guide the ship, even for a brief time period.

The degree of punishment will also be a key factor. All of these former Ohio residents that get mentioned like Stoops, Gruden, Meyer, they aren't getting any younger. They'll probably have a few years with limited scholarships at best, maybe worse. That will be at least two to three years behind, and then a few more to recover depending on transfer of players, additional loss of scholarship through student transfers and a drop in graduation rates ... this could be a long reconstruction process. If that is the case they'll get a coach who will appear that he's overreached for a job, but really, really loves OSU. Passion doesn't insure victories. 

Glenn Mason might have been a good caretaker coach, but that would have had to occur right after leaving Minnesota. He's been out of coaching for 4 years I believe, and he wasn't young when he was fired. Look at a successful MAC coach with Ohio ties or assistant coach in the Big 10 or SEC, or Big 12, but who isn't the hot commodity of punishment is severe. Hot targets like Malzahn will pass for a better immediate opportunity.