Ohio State University former football coach, Jim Tressel, is running for president of two Ohio colleges. He has put his name in the line-up of candidates for both The University of Akron and Youngstown State University. Born and raised in Ohio, Tressel has remained true in his spirit to stay close to home. Suffering a defeat in his coaching career, Tressel has moved on to other opportunities as he bides his time. He has kept his options open and appears to want to stay in Ohio.
Graduating from Berea High School in 1971, Tressel went on to study at Baldwin-Wallace College. He played football as a quarterback when his father was the head coach and his mother was the school’s athletic historian. Tressel’s passion has always been football, as he completed a degree in education from Baldwin-Wallace.
Quickly moving up the ranks, Tressel was named the head coach at Youngstown State University and served successfully from 1986-2000. Ohio State University needed a new coach after John Cooper was fired and Tressel was their first pick. He excitedly made the move to Columbus with his wife Ellen and their four children. Donning his signature vest at every game, Tressel created a strong winning team and a dedicated fan following.
Buckeye nation was born under the leadership of Tressel’s expertise and season after season went down in the books as another one to cherish. His winning record spoke for itself until the day Tressel did not speak up. Sadly some of his players had been trading their rings and jerseys in exchange for tattoos, which Tressel found out about. He chose to shove it all under the rug and knowingly used the technically ineligible players in the regular games. He depended on his team for success and calmly overlooked the infractions.
The truth came out and a scandal broke loose. It was a whole new ball game for Tressel as back-peddling and apologies were issued. No amount of support and good press did the 106-22 coach any favors. His tenure had come to an abrupt halt with suspensions and fines. The embarrassing situation found Tressel without a job, as he was forced to resign. Playing in the unknown field caused some confusion for a while until he landed at The University of Akron.
Tressel has been like a ping-pong ball bouncing around some of the top schools in Ohio. Doing previous coaching stints at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford and The Ohio State University years before he was head coach, his first love has always been coaching football. Since the time-out scheduled to last until December of 2016 was imposed by the NCAA standards, Tressel has found other duties as the Executive Vice President for Student Success at Akron University.
Not giving up the dream of being a coach again, Tressel is currently applying for other lofty positions. He been paying his dues since the scandal, watching Luke Fickell filling in and Urban Meyer now coaching in his once cherished spot at OSU. Tressel is still a name that is often brought up when a coach is needed at any college and even with the pro teams.
His hat is in the ring as the next president of a university and it has heads spinning with the possibility. He does not have a doctorate degree like all of the other candidates, but his commitment to education, numerous donations and his fortitude to always make good things happen will certainly earn him a top spot to lead somewhere and succeed. As Tressel waits on replies from the schools he has applied to, his winning spirit will always lead his way.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon
The Vindicator (Youngstown)