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Next up was Earle Bruce, a former Hayes disciple who won at least nine games every year for nine seasons and still got canned because prominent boosters didn’t think he had enough pizazz and didn’t court them enough.

John Cooper, a Tennessee native, had been the coach at Tulsa and Arizona State and was hired largely because he had beaten Ohio State’s archrival, Michigan, in a Rose Bowl. But people never considered his Southern drawl all that charming and they truly despised that he was 2-10-1 against Michigan and just 3-8 in bowl games. He is considered “Exhibit A” why it’s bad karma for Ohio State to think outside the box … or even think outside the state’s borders.

Tressel seemed like such a perfect fit. He had won four Division I-AA titles while at Youngstown State and was a former assistant coach under Bruce. He was welcomed back with open arms and provided the Buckeyes’ first national championship in 34 years in only his second season. But the next eight seasons are most memorable for the exploits of bad boys Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and the Tattoo Five.

Now, once again, Ohio State is seeking a football savior.

The Stoops brothers and Pelini are all from the Youngstown area, but they already have jobs. Gruden was considered briefly when Tressel got the job, and has shown no great interest in returning to the sideline, particularly at the college level.

It’s debatable who will want the job if the NCAA issues additional penalties for Tressel’s problems, in addition to what the sport’s sanctioning body finds out about all the players who were getting used cars at steep, steep discounts.

Someone joked that they had seen a bumper sticker on Monday that said: “(John Cooper) in ‘12: Tanned, Rested and Ready.”

With a year to decide, that might not be the most outlandish suggestion you’ll hear.


Rusty Miller can be reached at