There are still two more candidates to be interviewed, but we don't see how Youngstown State University can't hire Ron Strollo for executive director of intercollegiate athletics.
I stood and listened to Strollo talk about the university and the five years that he's spent in the athletic department, and I could just feel his love for the school.
As Strollo said Thursday during his interview session with the media, he's been through all of the university's problems the last five years; he knows what's going on and he knows what to do about them.
The man bleeds Penguin red and white.
Tressel's influence: Former athletic director and football coach Jim Tressel talked Strollo into giving up a good position (he's also a certified public accountant) to come back to the university. Tressel had one thing in mind when he did that: to groom Strollo for the A.D.'s post.
Joe Malmisur, the man whom Tressel replaced as A.D. and who still has had a close hand in things since his retirement, would also like to see Strollo in the job.
Strollo knows what it is like to be a student-athlete at YSU and he was a good one in both areas. He was The Vindicator's Male Student/Athlete of the year in 1992, which rewards young men and women who excel in both their sport and in the classroom.
He captained the 1991 YSU football team to the school's first I-AA national championship and was named the team's offensive player of the year for his efforts.
He's been through the process of a national search for a new basketball coach, serving as chairman of the YSU committee that hired John Robic two years ago.
Since 1996 he's handled the business end of the athletic department and knows all about the financial end of running this program.
Knows the area: Another important aspect of Strollo is that he's a Valley native and knows all about what this community has gone through over the years.
He feels about this community the same way that Tressel learned to do; only he's been here all his life.
We're sure there is somebody among the finalists with more experience than Strollo, but again, that person would have to come in and learn all about this university and the community. Strollo already knows about both.
He's been closely involved with the university's move into the new Horizon League for all sports but football, a matter which he lists at the top of his priorities should he get the job.
I've been here through four athletic directors at YSU and I was pretty familiar with the fifth one, although I never really had the opportunity to work with Willard Webster.
Paul Amodio, Bill Narduzzi, Joe Malmisur and Jim Tressel, four very influential men, all held this position admirably. There is no reason why Ron Strollo wouldn't do the same.
Switching gears: Senior quarterback Jeff Ryan had his cast removed from his wrist last month, and he said the wrist didn't get any better.
Ryan said that his shoulder, on which he had surgery early this year, is much better, but the real problem was his wrist.
He played almost all of last season with the injured wrist, which has a slight fracture in one of the small bones.
Doctors say that the only way to be sure of correcting the injury is by surgery, and that would mean nine months of rehab.
Ryan doesn't want to hear anything like that.
In spite of the wrist, Ryan got the Penguins into the I-AA playoffs last year, and he feels that he'll be able to do it again in 2001.
XPete Mollica covers YSU athletics for The Vindicator. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.