The pastors of Louisville area churches were given a unique option when Rev. Joel Cochran suggested the name of Coach Jim Tressel to be the special guest speaker at Rock the Park 2013. “That might be a risk” opined one, “there seems to be a lot of negative media around him. When I do a google search, the top stories are largely critical.” Another confided, “I don’t know if he ever apologized for what he did.” Others offered a more positive response. And the vote to invite Coach Tressel was unanimously embraced.
Most pastors had thoughts on Tressel that had never been altered, through triumph and ultimately scandal. “Most people remember coach Tressel by his influence shaping young person’s lives,” Pastor Larry Hinkle, RTP promoter and Louisville Christ Church pastor said. “That’s one of the attributes of coach Tressel, and I think in the end, that will be the kind of legacy that will be left with his name. We in the Christian community have a lot of respect for him.” Recently, area pastors learned the feeling was mutual. Tressel had accepted their invitation to be the speaker at the third Rock the Park Festival in Louisville, saying simply, “I am looking forward to it!”
For Tressel, who spent 10 seasons leading Ohio State, his message on August 18, at the Lousiville Metzger Park amphitheater marks the latest stop in a second career. After resigning under pressure of impending NCAA sanctions in May of 2011, Tressel was blistered by the main stream media as another example of what is wrong in major college sports. He admitted to lying to NCAA investigators and failing to alert his superiors, after he gained knowledge of OSU players receiving improper benefits from a Columbus tattoo parlor. His “shameful” acts have been amplified by the press, yet in his home state, to Ohio State supporters and those who know the values for which he stood, Tressel remains largely revered.
Millions nationwide witnessed the stadium-shaking roar when his former players hoisted Tressel on their shoulders at the celebration of the Buckeyes’ 2002 national championship team at last year’s Michigan game. Tressel has received 100’s of invitations for speaking opportunities in the past year. Yet, his presence is restricted, because the 60-year-old Tressel balances two jobs, one official as vice president of strategic engagement at Akron and another as ambassador for our nation’s youth. “I’m not sure I’ve been busier in my life, with a new career and still staying connected with 38 years of a former career,” Tressel said. He added: “Whenever I can help, as long as my schedule permits, and my new responsibilities allow, I’m excited to do it.”
The Louisville Constitution Committee and Rock the Park team invite the public to close out the Festival events August 18, 6 pm at Metzger Park Amphitheater. We would love to see Coach Tressel know the feeling is mutual, we as a community are excited to show our support and love for him.