For the first time in 11 years, the Ohio State Buckeyes will only have one Tressel within their ranks.
After a turbulent summer that saw: Jim Tressel getting forced out of a position that he re-introduced to prominence over the past 10 years, Terrelle Pryor escaping NCAA reach by bolting for the NFL Supplemental Draft, and countless suspensions and unspeakable embarrassment – fans are left to walk through the ruins and see what, if anything, is left behind.
One of the people left behind has a familiar last name, but none of the notoriety of his older brother. Dick Tressel, the longtime running backs coach for Ohio State still appears befuddled by what has transpired over the last few months. As he spoke to USA Today recently, it’s clear that the healing process hasn’t yet begun over in Buckeye land.
"It's strange because he cares so much about (coaching) and cares so much about kids," said Dick Tressel, in his eighth year as running backs coach and 11th year on the staff. "It's a loss on a lot of fronts.
"Assistant coaches might be as far out of the loop as anybody. I'm serious," he said. "There's no question, in that setting, Jim Tressel was the head football coach and I was an assistant football coach. A lot of people felt, 'You've got this inside scoop. You know what's going on.' That wasn't the case at all. I don't know if that's good or bad, but everybody has their own roles and you try to be as effective in those roles as you can."
Even the actual announcement that his brother would no longer be on the sidelines the following year came as a shock to Dick.
"All I knew was that a 7 a.m. meeting on a holiday weekend usually isn't good," Tressel said. "My emotions were, this is crazy. Things change fast, don't they?"
After Jim’s departure, his place was filled by co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. In an undeniably good-hearted move, he opted to keep everyone on the old staff, including Dick.
"I felt like if I asked Jim Tressel if I should leave, he might have punched me," Dick Tressel said. "For him, it's about the kids.
"If he thought I was going to jump out he would have said, 'Get your butt back in the boat, baby!' That's just how it is. I never gave him a chance to punch me. If he had wanted me to leave, I think he would have said, 'You've got to get out of this deal.' He didn't say that at all. I was dealing with a (running backs) crew that was … as in shock as anyone, and regrouping with them, and excited to do what I can to help the guys keep going."
In the wake of everything that has happened, the rebuilding process is now officially on. The main conspirators of all of the wrongdoing that Ohio State had been implicated in are all gone, and it’s on the shoulders of the remaining pieces to restore honor and dignity to a once-proud program.
A Tressel played a central role in taking the program down, and now, another Tressel will play a pivotal role in bringing it back up.