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Tressels pay visit to state champs at Southview

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Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at Southview yesterday afternoon to congratulate Cougars coach Jim Mayzes on the school's recent Division II state championship.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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How do you follow up a celebration of a football state championship? With a visit from a guy who has won a national championship.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at Southview yesterday afternoon to congratulate Cougars coach Jim Mayzes on the school's recent Division II state championship, and talk with Mayzes about some of his players who could have college football in their future.

Mayzes said Tressel, who has won a national championship and five Big Ten championships in his eight seasons with the Buckeyes, created quite a stir during his 90-minute visit at Southview.

"We had a bunch of 50 and 60-year-old people running around all excited. It was like Santa Claus had walked in the building," Mayzes said. "But Jim Tressel was as nice a guy as he could be, signing autographs for everyone and getting pictures with them. He took a ton of time with the people here. He's a great coach and a great individual."

Mayzes did not want to mention which of his players Tressel and his brother, Dick, who coaches running backs for Ohio State and also made the visit, were interested in.

"He knew some of our kids' names, and he knew their parents, and there was definitely some interest there," Mayzes said.

College football coaches are currently in a contact period when the NCAA permits them to make in-person, off-campus visits and evaluations of players. Players can make non-binding verbal commitments to attend a certain school at any point in advance of the official signing day for recruits in February.

Southview athletic director Glen Gillespie said the Tressels picked up a tape of the Cougars' Division II state championship game win over Cincinnati Anderson during yesterday's visit.

"It's a wonderful thing for all of us here at Southview to have the guy from the Ohio State University take the time to come see us," Gillespie said. "It was a thrill, and everybody and theirsister wanted an autograph and wanted their picture taken with coach Tressel. And he couldn't have been more gracious about it."

Gillespie said he understood that the Tressels spent most of the day in the Toledo area, also visiting St. John's, Anthony Wayne, Rogers and Central Catholic.

Mayzes said the Tressels let the folks at Southview hold their championship rings, and Jim Tressel also offered to assist the Cougars in their campaign to upgrade their facilities - specifically new bleachers and the artificial playing surface FieldTurf, which was installed in Ohio Stadium in May of 2007.

"We've been improving our facilities here, but there's still some things we'd love to have, and coach Tressel said he'd try and help us in that effort," Mayzes said.

"We're not asking for something nobody else has, since there's a number of schools in the area playing on FieldTurf right now, but we feel it's important for us to keep up. Having that kind of surface to play on and practice on, it makes you a better football team, and we're so fortunate coach Tressel is interested in helping us in that effort."

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.

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