By Denise Dick
It’s official. Jim Tressel has applied to become Youngstown State University’s ninth president.
Tressel, former YSU and Ohio State football coach, applied Friday for the job, confirmed Jamie Ferrare, president of AGB Search, the firm leading the search for YSU’s next president. Monday is the application deadline.
Tressel, of Medina, who has worked since 2012 as executive vice president for student success at the University of Akron, also applied last month to be president at that university.
Tressel, through UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey, issued a statement Friday afternoon.
“I am respectful of the presidential search process underway at both Youngstown State University and the University of Akron,” it says. “Both university communities are a very meaningful part of my professional history. I feel grateful that people from both university communities have expressed interest in my application. I believe it’s appropriate that I not comment any further during this part of the process.”
His application letter for the YSU job wasn’t available.
Former YSU President Randy J. Dunn resigned last month after just eight months on the job to become president of Southern Illinois University. As soon as Dunn announced his resignation, a group of community and business leaders, led by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, launched a campaign to see Tressel named the new president.
“I am pleased to learn that Jim Tressel has applied to be president of YSU,” Ryan said in a statement. “Because of the departure of Dr. Dunn, YSU faces a unique situation, and I believe Jim Tressel would provide the kind of leadership needed by a major university. I urge both Youngstown State and the University of Akron to seriously consider his candidacy. It is vitally important for us to keep someone with his talent, experience and leadership skills in Northeast Ohio.”
Bruce Zoldan, president and chief executive officer of B.J. Alan Co., is one of those leaders.
“I feel he would be a great asset to the community and the university,” he said. “I’ve been in constant contact with Coach Tressel and I’ve been encouraging him to apply, and I’m happy he has chosen to apply.”
As far as whether Tressel is more interested in the YSU or the Akron presidency, Zoldan believes the former coach is attracted to both positions.
“In my mind if the offer was made from the board of trustees of YSU, in my opinion, he would accept the offer,” Zoldan said. “In my opinion, his heart is in the Valley. He has so many friends in the tri-county area who have encouraged him to apply.”
Zoldan said Akron could make Tressel an offer.
“I believe his heart is at YSU,” he said.
Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees, said he’s happy the pool of candidates is growing.
“The more of a pool we have, the better the candidates,” he said. “Every candidate will be treated fairly and equally based on how they answer questions, how they perform in an interview, what kind of vision they have for the university and what plans they have to get us out of fiscal difficulty.”
Garg said he looks at the total pool, not one individual candidate.
After all of the applications are in, trustees will rank applications on a list of criteria to select candidates for initial interviews. From there, the list will be whittled to three finalists who will visit campus.