From the beginning he was destined to be a football coach. After all, his father was Dr. Lee Tressel, who compiled an outstanding record of 155-52-6, including winning the college division national championship in 1978, at Baldwin Wallace (BW). Jim Tressel was quarterback for four of his father's teams before graduating with honors from BW in 1975. Lee then sent his son to Jim Dennison at Akron to learn more about the coaching profession. "Jim represents one of the brightest young coaches I have met," said Dennison upon hiring the 23-year old Tressel as his offensive backfield coach. Later, Dennison said, "I never doubted for a minute that he was destined for greatness." After three seasons, Tressel left Akron to further his coaching apprenticeship, first with Tom Reed at Miami (OH), then with Dick McPherson at Syracuse and with Earl Bruce at Ohio State. With this solid coaching resume behind him, Tressel took the next step up the ladder in December, 1985, as head coach at Youngstown State. After a rude awakening his first season (2-9), Tressel bounced back to capture the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 1987. From 1989 to '91, Tressel was voted Ohio Coach of the Year as he directed the Penguins to the NCAA I AA playoffs with seasons of 9-4, 11-1 and 12-3, respectively. In 1991, YSU went all the way, capturing the I AA National Championship and Tressel was voted I AA Coach of the Year. Now in his eighth year, Tressel's record stands at 59-32-1.