Tressel has been honing leadership skills for 40 years

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Over the past 40 years, Jim Tressel has been building his leadership skills, which now may all come together as he sets out to become the ninth president in Youngstown State University history.

Playing quarterback for his dad Lee at Baldwin Wallace College, the senior was named team captain

After a series of assistant coaching positions, he was hired as head coach at YSU in 1985. finishing that first season with a losing record. But in 1991, Tressel and the Penguins won their first national championship.

Over the decade of the 1990’s, YSU, under Tressel, went on to win three more national championships and won more games than any other team in NCAA Division I-AA school.

Then came what many thought was Tressel’s dream job when he was hired as head coach for Ohio State University in 2001. In his second year, he led the Buckeyes to a perfect 14-0 record and a national championship.

In his 10 years in Columbus, Tressel compiled a record of 94-22, including half a dozen Big Ten titles and, perhaps even more important to many, an 8-1 record against arch-rival Michigan.

During that time, he and his wife Ellen made a number of major donations to YSU, helping to pay for an indoor athletic facility and a wellness center on campus, as well as a study lounge inside Kilcawley Center.

But in 2011, Tressel was forced to resign after admitting he had withheld information about rules violations by a number of his players from his bosses at Ohio State as well as the NCAA. A year later, Tressel was hired by the University of Akron as its Vice President for Student Success. The newly created position allows Tressel to oversee various aspects of student life, from academic advising to career services.

In February, when Randy Dunn announced he was leaving YSU, community leaders began efforts to draft Tressel, but he didn’t apply right away.

But with the application deadline approaching in April, Tressel submitted his name, ultimately becoming one of three finalists and on Friday, was named the university’s ninth president.

With his appointment as president, Tressel will report directly to YSU’s Board of Trustees and is expected to have a hand in raising donations for the university, as well as boosting student recruitment at a time when both enrollment and state funding are declining.

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