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Spielman Interviews At Ohio State

Former Ohio State and NFL star Chris Spielman interviewed Wednesday for the Buckeyes' coaching job.

Spielman was one of college football's best middle linebackers while playing for the Buckeyes from 1984-87. He was a two-time All-American and won the Lombardi Award in his final year at Ohio State.

He retired from the Cleveland Browns in 1999 with a neck injury after spending most of his professional career with the Detroit Lions. He also played for the Buffalo Bills.

Broadcast reports also said that Youngstown State coach Jim Tressell and Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham have interviewed for the job. Longtime Ohio State assistant Fred Pagac and Minnesota head coach Glen Mason already have been interviewed.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported Wednesday that Ohio State hasn't ruled out talking with Pittsburgh's Walt Harris.

Even though Pittsburgh denied permission to talk with Ohio State's former quarterbacks coach, Harris' contract doesn't prevent him from accepting an offer by Ohio State, the newspaper said.

Many of the known candidates being considered to replace John Cooper, fired last week after 13 years, have an Ohio State pedigree.

Mason was the offensive coordinator, Tressel coached the quarterbacks and receivers and Pagac was in charge of outside linebackers under Earle Bruce with Ohio State in 1984 and 1985.

"It was a great staff," Tressel said Tuesday.

Mason lettered as a Buckeyes linebacker in 1970 and Pagac was a three-year starter at tight end from 1971-73.

Tressel played quarterback at Baldwin-Wallace under his father, the late Lee Tressel. The elder Tressel taught a coaching class at Baldwin-Wallace that used a textbook written by Ohio State icon Woody Hayes.

When Cooper was hired, candidates with Ohio State backgrounds did not figure in the mix of finalists. Many fans, alumni and ex-players have criticized Cooper for not being knowledgeable about the school's traditions.

In one of his first television commercials, he referred to the revered Ohio Stadium as "Buckeye Stadium."

Now that Cooper is gone, many are clamoring for a person steeped in scarlet and gray.

"I was hoping, just like a lot of the ex-plyers, that they would find somebody who had Ohio ties," said former Buckeye quarterback Dave Purdy, now a radio analyst of Ohio State football. "I think anybody who's coached in this area, who grew up and played in Ohio, definitely knows the significance of the Michigan game and the traditions at Ohio State."

Cooper went 2-10-1 against Michigan, the Buckeyes' top rival.

Purdy said that Cooper's players lacked respect for Ohio State's history because Cooper didn't appreciate the school's history.

"Most of the ex-players think our players the last 10 or 13 years have missed it. They have no clue," he said. "John Cooper never took in that tradition. He had to put up with it more than anything else."

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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