Consider Jim Tressel’s record as a coach and as a person

Consider Jim Tressel’s record as a coach and as a person

The popular opinion is that Jim Tressel should either be fired or resign as head football coach at Ohio State. That would certainly make the rest of the Big 10 happy, since they can’t beat him, seeing him fired is the next best option.

I worked closely with Tressel for more than a decade when he was coach at YSU. As good a football coach as he is, I found him to be an even better man. Caring, compassionate, and, most of all, always giving back to the Mahoning Valley. I recall countless times accompanying him to local children’s hospitals, making visits to local businesses and speaking to local organizations every year. One could argue he did more good during the 1990s to raise the image of this community than any other public figure. Most impressive, he did it with little or no fanfare, not seeking the publicity, but doing it because it was the right thing to do.

I am not condoning his behavior. His recent mistakes need to be taken very seriously, and swift, severe punishment needs to be handed down from the NCAA. But really, should he lose his job? Let’s be honest, his primary job is to win football games and beat Michigan. When he took over the program, Ohio State had become irrelevant on the national stage. Under John Cooper’s 10-year run at Ohio State, his bowl record was 3-8, and seven of those bowl appearances were in either the Hall Of Fame, Liberty, Citrus, or Holiday Bowl — meaningless bowl games. Cooper was 2-10-1 against Michigan and never won an outright Big 10 title.

In 10 years Tressel has restored the glory of the program. He owns Michigan, has coached in three national title games, winning one of them as a two-touchdown underdog against Miami, led Ohio State to six straight BCS bowl games, and six straight conference crowns. I understand Tressel’s recent troubles are not about his ability as a coach, however, he does have leverage that others would not.

Would Ohio State really be better off by firing him? I think not, and if this scandal really does hurt his ability to recruit and continue to win at a high level, then maybe it would be time to go. However, does anyone really believe that three years from now if Tressel remains as coach his program will not be winning at a high level?

Those of us who live in the Mahoning Valley should not forget that since leaving 10 years ago, he has not forgotten us. Without his support the new indoor facility at YSU would not be built, and he continues to come home and speak at many charitable events. Since taking the job as president of United Way more than two years ago, I have reached out to him several times for help, and every time he has gone above and beyond to support us.

Former Ohio State star Chris Spielman recently said he would still want his son to play for Tressel. My 25-year-old son, Craig, a few years ago had considered applying to be a graduate assistant for the Ohio State basketball program. Coach Tressel hand delivered Craig’s resume to basketball coach Thad Matta. That is the Tressel way, helping others. Now he needs our support. I also know if my son can become half the man Coach Tressel is, then I will be one proud father.

Bob Hannon, Youngstown

The writer is the long-time play-by-play announcer for YSU Penguin football; his broadcasts included the National Championship games during the Tressel years.

Keeping an eye on spending

The Vindicator’s “Govern- ment Watch” is a very worthwhile concept, and I wish you much success in following through with its implementation. You must realize that starting such a program means a long-term commitment. As such, your program could be quite influential in Valley politics.

For many years it has bothered me that politically created jobs are protected during difficult times, while the more necessary jobs such as fire stations, police patrols, road repair and classroom expenses are cut as a way of saving money. What should happen when budgets are cut is that all managers start by taking four-day work weeks with pay reductions of 20 percent. City manager, township manager and county manager positions should be eliminated, since they are duplications of other government posts. Mayors, councilmen, trustees, commissioners, principals and administrators should work reduced hours at a correspondingly reduced pay scale. Where there are multiple people doing the job as a committee, then a reduction in the number of people should be implemented.

Once those changes are made, the budget should be recalculated. If the needed funds are still not available, and I mean without borrowing, then further cuts would need to be made to the staffing people and the actual programs.

This would be a reasonable approach to spending taxpayer’s money. It is not the system in place today.

Donald Butler, Warren

Chamber had a different view

I am writing to set the record straight regarding a recent letter to the editor written by Austintown Township Trustee Lisa Oles. In the letter Trustee Oles said that the Regional Chamber supported the idea of imposing income taxes on employees of existing businesses in Austintown via a JEDD agreement with the city of Youngstown. The Regional Chamber never supported such a proposal and certainly never advocated for the city’s proposal with anyone. The city made its proposal without input from the Regional Chamber, and the proposal was pretty much dead on arrival when presented to local jurisdictions.

During that time and since then, the Chamber has promoted the idea of regional collaboration and regional cooperation among neighboring communities in the Mahoning Valley. We have said that such endeavors, including such items as shared services and Joint Economic Development Districts, should be done if they are mutually beneficial to all communities involved. In other words, any such ventures should be win-win situations much as it has been for the cities of Youngstown and Girard, which approved a cooperative agreement that paved the way for the $650 million V&M expansion. Both communities are reaping significant benefits from their decision to collaborate.

We continue to cite the need for elected officials to take the lead in setting aside long-standing parochial interests to embark on initiatives with other communities to save the taxpayers money and spur economic development and jobs in the Valley.

Tony Paglia, Youngstown

The writer is a vice president of the Regional Chamber.

Questioning Kasich’s priorities

In 1997, the Ohio Supreme Court declared the state’s funding for education unconstitutional. Gov. John Kasich said his budget will “put more money into the classroom.” Whose classrooms? Public schools or charter schools?

He is contradicting reports he released that show a $2 billion cut in education funding from this fiscal year to the end of 2013. Some report the cuts as large as $3 billion. He does, however, increase money to charter schools and the voucher program that use our public school tax dollars to pay for private school tuition.

Gov. Kasich’s budget to increase public tax money to failing charter schools is unacceptable and also unconstitutional.

These cuts in state funding will force local school districts to put on higher tax levies to maintain school programs that are needed by our children. Ohio families need investments to be made into our public schools to maintain quality education where it is needed.

Ed Freisen, Newton Falls