Tressel returns: Former coach accepts YSU president’s job

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees announced Friday that they have unanimously chosen Jim Tressel as the school’s ninth president and that Tressel has verbally agreed to take the job.

The exact details of the contract between Tressel and YSU are still being worked out and could be finalized next week.

According to the website footballscoop.com, Tressel was offered the same position at the University of Akron, but chose to accept the position at YSU.

In a news release from YSU, the decision to select Tressel was unanimous among the trustees. Trustees authorized board Chair Sudershan Garg and Vice Chair John Jakubek to negotiate and execute an employment contract with Tressel. Garg emphasized that the appointment is not final until contract terms can be reached.

“After fully examining each and every candidate and reviewing the input from hundreds of individuals across the campus and the community, the Board of Trustees believes Mr. Tressel is the right individual at the right time to lead Youngstown State University,” Garg said. “Mr. Tressel has the personality and leadership skills, in addition to widespread community support, to dramatically raise YSU’s profile and prominence across Ohio and the nation.”

Excited about the opportunity at YSU! It’s all about student success. Going to miss all the wonderful Zips at UA,” Tressel said on his Twitter account Friday morning.

In a prepared statement issued later on Friday, Tressel thanked the Board of Trustees and the community for their support and confidence.

“We are honored and privileged to accept the board’s offer and we are humbled by this opportunity to return to the area and school that we deeply love. We look forward to working with the board, faculty, staff, students and the entire Mahoning Valley community to build on what has been more than a century of service and success at the university.”

Tressel and his wife Ellen plan to be on campus Monday for a Board of Trustees meeting. Tressel said in the statement that out of respect for the process, he is reserving any further comment on the YSU position and will celebrate commencement weekend at the University of Akron.

WKBN.com will stream Tressel’s press conference at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Presidents of the four unions representing YSU’s faculty, professional and administrative employees and police issued a joint statement expressing their approval of the selection.

“We expect that he will be an excellent ambassador and an effective fundraiser for the University,” the release from the unions said. “We believe he has an understanding of the past, is in a position to evaluate the present, and will strive to create a future that brings us together as a well functioning, nationally recognized urban research institution.”

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan added his comments to the announcement. “Make no mistake, the biggest beneficiary of this decision is the student body at YSU,” Ryan said. “They will reap the benefits of President Tressel’s leadership both on campus and with increased opportunities in the local economy.”

Jim Tressel was also among the final three candidates for the University of Akron job. He currently works at Akron as the Vice President for Student Success.

Tressel visited YSU’s campus Monday, May 5 after the board of trustees made its cut for the top three candidates April 27. During the visit, he emphasized the importance of student retention and refused to state a preference between the Akron and YSU jobs.

“I haven’t concerned myself with making any decisions because I haven’t been offered anything,” Tressel said during his visit Monday. “The only thing I want for Youngstown (State), the only thing I want for Akron, is for them to get the best president.”

Garg stressed the university’s contract language will be updated to avoid a “mishap” like former president Randy Dunn’s sudden departure after just seven months on the job.

“There will be some liquidation damages if Jim Tressel leaves earlier,” said Garg.

Trustees will also have to submit to some NCAA guidelines with Tressel’s new position. Jim Tressel lost his Ohio State coaching job because of NCAA violations. He is still under sanctions and that will continue into his new job as YSU President.

YSU must file a report within 60 days of hiring Tressel on how they will monitor the former head coach to make sure no further violations occur. A report will then need to be filed every six months until December 19, 2016.

A statement from the university indicates YSU leaders are aware of the sanctions and have had conversations with NCAA officials and are aware of the responsibilities saying they are comfortable that Jim Tressel can fully function as president of the university.

“After fully examining each and every candidate and reviewing the input from hundreds of individuals across the campus and the community, the Board of Trustees believes Mr. Tressel is the right individual at the right time to lead Youngstown State University,” Garg said in the school’s press release. “Mr. Tressel has the personality and leadership skills, in addition to widespread community support, to dramatically raise YSU’s profile and prominence across Ohio and the nation.”

Tressel coached football at Youngstown State University from 1986 to 2000 before becoming the head football coach at Ohio State University. Tressel resigned May 30, 2011 amidst allegations that some of his players at OSU received improper benefits because of their status as college athletes.

Local figure and co-chair of the San Francisco 49ers said in a prepared statement, “Jim Tressel is a tremendous leader and motivator – He will strengthen the Youngstown State University organization from the inside out.  He will be a great asset to the continued growth of the University and the Mahoning Valley.”

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