Before 70-plus football players put helmets and pads on yesterday for an evening practice for the 19th annual regional all-star football game, they sat and listened to advice shared from a member of the state's first family of football.
Ohio State assistant coach Dick Tressel offered the group some lessons about life commonly shared in the Buckeyes' locker room.
"The way the Tressel family approached football is, we use it as a classroom," said Tressel, the older brother of Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel.
With 40-plus years of coaching on his resume, including a stint at Gibsonburg High School early in his career, Dick Tressel has delivered his share of speeches to players in football pads. However, this was his first appearance with a group participating in the annual all-star game organized by the
Perrysburg athletic boosters.
He joins two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, former Notre Dame coach Jerry Faust and Florida coach Urban Meyer among notables to speak to those playing in the annual contest.
"I didn't say anything those players haven't already heard before, but maybe I said it a little differently that they heard it," said Tressel, who spoke about the importance of being respectful on and off the football field.
Tressel's speech, which lasted about 20 minutes, also covered the idea of student athletes having a "coachable attitude."
He credits his interest in coaching, as well as his brother's, to their father, Lee Tressel, who was a coach at Baldwin-Wallace. It was natural they followed in this footsteps.
"It's fun," he said. "My dad was a [coach] and educator. He could get kids' attention and it was a family affair and we could all be involved."
St. Francis de Sales graduate D.J. McPartland thought Tressel's message was clear.
"He's a very wise guy and it's always good to listen to a guy who knows about football and life," McPartland said.
Liberty Center graduate Damian Maes agreed Tressel shared some good words.
"He had some great advice and opened my eyes to a couple of things heading to college," said Maes, who plans to attend the University of Toledo and walk on the Rockets baseball team.
The all-star game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Whitmer High. Proceeds from the game, which have averaged approximately $6,000, will be used to support Perrysburg athletics.
Perrysburg booster Chuck Long has been in charge of overseeing the organization of the all-star game the past few years. He said holding the game at Springfield in 2007 and Whitmer last summer due to construction projects at their home field, didn't affect the turnout for the contest. He's expecting another good turnout this year.
"It's been doing as good the last couple of years even though it hasn't been here," Long said. "Hopefully we'll get it back here next year."
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