MOUNT VERNON — As news of Jim Tressel’s resignation from Ohio State spread, so did reaction around Knox County.
Tressel, easily the most popular and successful head football coach for the Buckeyes since Woody Hayes, has become almost as polarizing since he admitted he had knowledge of players trading memorabilia for cash and other favors.
The most prominent local connection is a man who played for Tressel during his days at Youngstown State.
“We don’t talk on a regular basis,” said Mount Vernon head football coach Anthony Naples. “When we see each other, we talk. He is a great man. He is a great teacher. And he is a great coach.”
Naples, who won a national title under Tressel for the Penguins but has no connection to OSU, believes his former coach tried to do the right thing.
“Kids are doing different things now,” Naples said. “And when this stuff happens, someone has to take the blame.
“Do I believe that this is a call for him to resign? No,” Naples added.
As the number of allegations against Tressel and OSU continues to climb, so does the number of fans who support the embattled former head coach.