The Wall Street Journal recently published an article highlighting a vestige of Division I athletics from another era: head coaches teaching class.
Jim Tressel teaches a "Coaching Football" class on football to 49 current students in the fall. Tressel intentionally shifted the class from spring to fall, as part of his class requirements include observing high school practices and one OSU practice. Beyond Ohio State, there are no other D-IA football head coaches currently teaching a class. From what I've been able to find, this class existed before Tressel left Youngstown State, as John Cooper formerly taught the class.
"You see, this is how we plan on losing to an SEC team every year..."
I was able to find some more background information beyond what was mentioned in the story from a Buckeye blog thread from last year. The class is scheduled to meet MWF at 7:30AM, but due to the practice/scouting requirement, the class is only held Mondays and Wednesdays. Tressel frequently features guest speakers in class, including former head coaches Earle Bruce and John Cooper. The class is apparently held in their equivalent of the Butts-Mehre building, limiting average students from crashing the class.
The class goes from reviewing year-old scouting reports created for an opponent, to diagramming defenses (special love is given to the 46 defense), to breaking down scouting tapes. Definitely not a Jim Harrick Jr. class.
And apparently students can be valuable to the coach too. According to a coach who runs a similar program in Div-IAA:
"Southern Utah's head football coach, Ed Lamb, who teaches a coaching class like Mr. Tressel's in the spring, says regular students can even provide valuable feedback. . . some helpfully pointed out in practice evaluations that they thought 'coaches could be more organized' and 'players should move faster from drill to drill'."
I wonder, though, whether Ohio State realizes any true advantages by having a coach teach a class? While it is somewhat of a rarity for OSU players to actually take the class, I'm sure that Tressel is more in touch with the workload of students and probably has more of an ear to the ground for things that might hurt his players off-the-field and impact their on-the-field eligibility.
Maybe this is something that Richt, or more likely one of our assistant coaches, should consider for future years. Anything that could lessen the likelihood of banishment from Valdosta and suspended licenses...
Coming to a classroom near you?