By Denise Dick
Jim Tressel will begin his duties at Youngstown State University on Friday, 11 days before his official contract begins.
Tressel will become acting president, said Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, when Ikram Khawaja, interim president, goes on vacation for the last 10 days of his term. Khawaja’s last day before vacation is Thursday. He is retiring June 30 after nearly 46 years at YSU.
Cole said Tressel will be available those 10 days without pay.
Dr. Sudershan Garg, YSU trustees chairman, said trustees believe it’s important to have someone in the presidential role in case something comes up that requires attention or a signature.
“It’s good to have somebody to cover for him, and since he’s already here, we asked him to become acting president for 10 to 11 days,” Garg said.
But Tressel can’t take the job early because Khawaja is still in office.
“You can’t have two presidents,” Garg said.
Tressel’s term as YSU’s ninth president begins July 1. His contract is still being finalized, but under approved terms, Tressel had been offered $375,000 the first year and turned it down, opting for $300,000 instead.
Tressel was selected in mid-May, and he’s been on campus frequently since then.
“He’s been working without pay, meeting people, getting acquainted,” Garg said. “He’s not being paid for that.”
Tressel, who led both YSU’s and Ohio State’s football teams to national championships, was the executive vice president for student success at the University of Akron when trustees selected him as the third YSU president in four years.
Cynthia Anderson, YSU’s seventh president, who was appointed in 2010, retired after three years on the job. Randy J. Dunn, appointed in July 2013, resigned after only eight months on the job to become president of Southern Illinois University.