New coach could be in place at OSU by weekend
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State could have a new head football coach by the weekend.
Youngstown State coach Jim Tressel, believed to be one of the finalists for the job, said Tuesday he thinks Ohio State officials are on pace to have a new coach in place soon.
"I'd be shocked if they didn't have a coach by this weekend because you've got to get back out to work," said Tressel, who anticipates being interviewed for the job within the next 48 hours.
Ohio State athletics director Andy Geiger and associate AD Archie Griffin interviewed longtime Buckeyes assistant Fred Pagac on Monday. They were expected to speak with Minnesota head coach Glen Mason on Tuesday.
Tressel has been contacted by Geiger and Griffin about interviewing -- as soon as they return from the American Football Coaches Association convention in Atlanta. The convention ends at noon Wednesday.
"The last I heard, they're in Atlanta and taking care of however many folks they're going to talk to there," said Tressel, who has won four Division I-AA national championships in his 15 years as Youngstown State's head coach. "When they get back they're going to be back in touch with me. ... That's all I know."
Mason did not return a telephone message left for him at his hotel in Atlanta, where he is attending the convention.
Pagac, Mason and Tressel are the only candidates known to be asked to interview for the vacancy, created when Ohio State fired John Cooper last week after 13 years as head coach.
Pagac, Mason and Tressel were all on the same Ohio State staff in the mid-1980s under head coach Earle Bruce.
Pagac, an Ohio State tight end in the early 1970s, was a graduate assistant under Woody Hayes in 1978 and named a full assistant by Bruce in 1982. He was Cooper's top assistant this season.
"It seems like everything worked out well," Pagac said of his two-hour meeting Monday with Geiger and Griffin. "I felt real good. Hopefully they feel the same way."
Pagac said he doesn't know when Ohio State will hire a coach, but that he expects a decision soon.
"I am excited," he said. "But I'll be more excited when I know what they're going to do."
Mason is 81-89-1 as a head coach, including 22-25 in four years with the Golden Gophers. He has taken the team to consecutive bowl games for only the second time in school history.
With less than a month left in the recruiting season, and with a staff to assemble, Geiger is hurrying to get a person in place.
"I think they're going along just at the speed they should," Tressel said.