Ex-Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel says he's 'surprised' by HOF honor

Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said he's proud and at least a little surprised to be one of 14 Buckeyes who will be inducted into the university's athletic hall of fame this fall.

Tressel coached Ohio State's football team to a national championship in the 2002 season and won 94 games during his 10 years there as coach. He resigned in May 2011 after the NCAA discovered the coach had withheld information during an investigation into some of his players selling memorabilia and receiving illegal benefits.

For his role in that scandal, Tressel received a five-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA, meaning any school that wanted to hire him during that period would also have to take on the penalties from his time at Ohio State.

Tressel did not specifically say the circumstances surrounding his departure were why he was slightly caught off guard when the school told him earlier this week that he would be a hall of famer.

"I think you're surprised for a lot of reasons," he said. "You know you're not perfect. You look at the lists of people who are in those halls of fame and you don't put yourself in that class. There are a lot of reasons."

The National Football Foundation also announced its plans in January to include Tressel in the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame class. That induction ceremony will take place in December, the same month Tressel's show-cause penalty is set to expire.

Tressel, who now is the president of Youngstown State University, said he has no plans to return to coaching when the penalty expires.

"I've got plenty of challenges right where I am," he said. "I enjoyed 37 wonderful years of coaching. It's a lot of fun and a lot of work. I haven't thought one bit about going back into coaching."

Ohio State won its first national championship since Tressel's 2002 victory in the same week that he was announced as a College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Tressel said he didn't know how the hall of fame honors and the Buckeyes' quick return to the top of the sport under new coach Urban Meyer would affect the way he was remembered at the school.

"I guess it depends upon who you asked," Tressel said. "I always concerned myself with the people I worked with and worked for. People who I didn't spend time with and want to look on from a distant seat and have an opinion, there's not much I can do about that."

Tressel and the 13 other former Buckeyes entering the university's hall of fame will be honored Sept. 19 at an Ohio State home game against Northern Illinois.