Tressel Leaves Behind Quite A Legacy -- On Field And Off

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Despite Jim Tressel's abrupt departure this week, he leaves behind quite a legacy, both on the field and off, 10TV's Chuck Strickler reported on Wednesday.

Tressel and his wife, Ellen, have supported numerous charities during their time in Columbus.

Through causes ranging from the March of Dimes, to local school levies, to a special cancer fund, the Tressel family raised awareness -- along with hundreds of thousands of dollars -- to make central Ohio a better place.

On the Ohio State campus, junior student Billy Thayer said that if it was not for Jim Tressel, his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity casino night would be nothing.

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"Coach Tressel's involvement is really the centerpiece of what brings everybody out for the night," he said.

Thayer said Tressel made his fraternity's event a priority since its inception seven years ago.  It was even a priority earlier this year, when the Ohio State football investigation was beginning to loom large.

"The event was March 11, and if you look back, that's when everything was really starting to snowball out of control.  He was able to come that night when we really hadn't heard from him either way," Thayer said.  "We all had our fingers crossed, and there he was, right on time with his wife."

The fraternity ended up raising enough money to donate $25,000 to the Tressel Family Fund for Cancer Prevention Research at The James.  The fund was set up in honor of Jim Tressel's mother, Strickler reported.

Other Tressel causes include the Kids n' Kamp, which benefits families with children touched by cancer, and The Spring Football Kickoff Luncheon, which has helped raise $1 million for the Alzheimers' Association of central Ohio.

Tressel, who was widely known for his support of United States service members, traveled overseas in 2009 to break down football tactics with U.S. troops.

In other cases, he was visible on a local level.  He campaigned in support of a levy in the South-Western City School district after budget cuts ended athletics.

Thayer said that side of Jim Tressel is what people will miss the most.

"People who never got to see that side of him are really just going to be quick to jump the gun and make assumptions about him, his character, that he was a fraud, everything like that," he said. "But for those of us who got to spend days, weeks, hours communicating with him, it showed how willing he was and how great and concerned he is about defeating cancer."

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